PENGERANG: A diesel smuggling syndicate is getting more brazen in its attempts to make huge profits by selling the subsidised fuel through the black market in international waters.
Its one-month operation, however, came to an end after the police carried out an operation and arrested 13 suspects, including four locals between the ages of 18 and 62, at a location along the Sungai Bauk riverbank near Tanjung Belungkor here at around 11pm on Friday.
Johor police chief Comm Datuk Kamarul Zaman Mamat said the police found 138,000 litres of subsidised diesel worth more than RM380,000.
“Initial investigations found that the syndicate takes a profit of RM1 for every litre sold. The syndicate gets the diesel using tanker trailers from around Johor and possibly nearby states before coming to the location every three days.
“Once the trailers arrive at the location with the diesel, fuel is transferred to a vessel tanker, which would then bring it to international waters before selling it in the black market,” he said in a press conference on Sunday.
Comm Kamarul Zaman said the syndicate would set the selling price for the subsidised diesel at a higher price in the black market.
He added that investigations showed that one of the suspects arrested had a prior criminal record under the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952.
“The price of diesel in Malaysia, which is subsidised by the government, is cheaper than in other regional countries around here.
“We will be roping in the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) to check the financial records of owners of the seized vehicles (which were confiscated) during the operation,” he added.
Comm Kamarul Zaman said besides arresting the suspects, the police also seized a tank ship, four tank trailers, two flow meters, two fuel pumps, two generator sets, and a Toyota Vios with a total value of RM14.4mil.
The case is being investigated under Section 21 of the Supply Goods Act 1961.