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Oil smugglers caught offshore of Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province

Update: August, 08/2012 - 09:45

HA NOI — Crewmembers of ships belonging to Singapore and Viet Nam have been temporarily arrested after they were caught in the act smuggling thousands of litres of oil in southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province's sea area on Sunday.

Police forces discovered Singapore's Arafure ship in the middle of transferring oil to the Vietnamese ship, captained by Le Minh Giao. The Arafura ship carried 382,000 litres of oil, 10,000 of which had already been transferred to the Vietnamese ship.

Neither captain had a legal permit to do so.

The police's initial investigation results showed that the Vietnamese ship is owned by Thien Hoa Company Ltd, while the Arafure ship was rented for off-shore oil-rig services in Viet Nam. However, the captains said they did not know that their actions were illegal.

According to the police, smugglers often take advantage of the rainy season's rough seas to conduct illegal activities.

The case is under investigation.

In another case, investigation police from the General Department of Customs yesterday prosecuted several individuals for illegally trading petrol in the coastal region between Thanh Hoa and Nam Dinh provinces.

A Cambodian ship called Giang Chau, which had nine Chinese crew members on board, was found to be illegally pumping petrol to three Vietnamese ships, owned by Hoang Son Company Ltd, based in Thanh Hoa Province. The ship was carrying an estimated 2,000 tonnes of petrol, worth about VND40 billion ($1.9 million).

All four ships were seized and 23 people held.

The crew claimed they took advantage of temporary imports for re-export of goods in Viet Nam to buy petrol in the country, but instead of transporting it to China they sold it to dealers in Viet Nam. This helps smugglers evade import tax and valued added tax as well. — VNS

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