Thai police arrest members of syndicate smuggling petrol from Malaysia

Image Credit: Bangkok Post

The Royal Thai Police‘s (RTP) Fuel Crime Suppression Centre recently announced the arrest of two suspected members of a criminal syndicate known as “Jae Fang” in Hat Yai, Thailand. The group has allegedly been smuggling petrol from Malaysia and reselling it in the southern provinces of Songkhla, Satun, and Narathiwat.

The suspects, Nee Usman and Eeb Madyusoh, were apprehended while transferring petrol between modified lorries and pickup trucks at a warehouse in Hat Yai district’s Thung Lung area, about 30 kilometres from the immigration checkpoint. Authorities managed to seize two Toyota pickup trucks carrying at least 2,000 litres of diesel.

Deputy national police chief Pol. Gen. Surachate “Big Joke” Hakparn, who is also the Fuel Crime Suppression Centre’s acting director, indicated that the Jae Fang syndicate has operated this illegal petrol business for at least a decade. According to Big Joke, the group typically purchases smuggled petrol from boats operating in the Gulf and the Andaman Sea, as well as utilising modified lorries fitted with large oil tanks capable of storing up to 1,000 litres each.

The modified lorries are reported to enter Malaysia at least ten times per day to refill their tanks before crossing the border back into Thailand. The smuggled petrol is then stored in the syndicate’s warehouse, where the two suspects were arrested, before being transferred to trucks parked nearby in a forest located in Tha Phong subdistrict.

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Big Joke revealed that Thai authorities are able to seize over 100,000 litres of smuggled petrol from neighbouring countries on a monthly basis. However, it is believed that a significantly larger amount of the illicit fuel evades detection, causing substantial financial losses to the state as the untaxed petrol is sold on the black market.

Meanwhile, Pol. Lt. Gen. Itthipol Itthisaranachai, commissioner of Provincial Police Region 2, issued an order to transfer Pol.Col. Supoj Rakkarn, the superintendent of Trat provincial police station, for allegedly accepting bribes to facilitate the illegal export of motorcycles. Rakkarn’s transfer follows a recent raid on an export syndicate in the Khlong Yai district’s Mai Rood subdistrict on February 28.

During the operation, seven suspects were apprehended while transferring six motorbikes onto a boat bound for clients in Cambodia. Subsequent charges were brought against the suspects, four of whom were identified as officers stationed at the Khlong Yai police station. Pol. Col. Damrong Eiampairoj, the superintendent of Aranyaprathet Police Station, has been selected to take over the role of superintendent at Trat provincial police station.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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