BANGKOK (March 20): The Thai Army today seized 300,000 litres of diesel worth about 10 million baht, believed to have been smuggled from Malaysia, and detained 13 locals for investigation.
The 4th Army deputy commander, Maj Gen Jatuporn Kalaphasut said the soldiers discovered over 120,000 litres of diesel in a trawler and over 170,000 litres in another trawler in the operation at 2.30 am (local time) in Klong Bo Non pier, Tha Sala district in Nakhon Si Thammarat, southern Thailand.
“It is believed to be the largest seizure of smuggled diesel in southern Thailand.
“Based on the initial investigation, the diesel is believed to be from Kelantan, east coast of Malaysia. The diesel price in Malaysia is cheaper and that’s why they are taking advantage of this,” he told Bernama, here, today.
The diesel price in Thailand is 27.29 baht (RM3.60) per litre for Ultraforce Diesel and 30.89 baht (RM4.06) per litre for Ultraforce Premium Diesel. The diesel price in Malaysia is RM2.18.
Jatuporn said the syndicate, with a local man from Songkhla as the mastermind, had about 30 boats to run the smuggling activity.
Based on the investigation, he said the syndicate transported the fuel about six to seven times monthly, for about a year.
“It is a well-organised syndicate where the oil tankers were waiting to load and distribute the smuggled diesel to other districts.
“A ship carrying the diesel would be drifted to international waters, bordering Malaysia and Thailand and the trawlers would ferry it back to the pier in Tha Sala,” he said.
Jatuporn said the authorities also seized five oil tankers near the pier.
He said 13 locals were arrested, including the boats’ skippers and crews, and oil tanker drivers but the mastermind abandoned his car and managed to escape during the raid.