PHUKET: The skipper and four crewmen of a boat smuggling gasoline into Thailand were arrested yesterday near Ardung Island in Satun Province, which comes under the jurisdiction of the Phuket Marine Police. Pol Maj Gen Mongkol Kamolbuth, Bangkok-based Deputy Commissioner of the Marine Police, said 70,000 liters of fuel was found on board the Kaewmanee Nava 2, which was stopped as part of an ongoing crackdown on fuel smuggling. He said that the fuel was bought by the smugglers for three baht a liter in Malaysia, and would have been sold for 6.40 baht, still considerably less than the pump price in Thailand. Gen Mongkol said the Marine Police want to interview a man they believe to be behind the smuggling business, and who they think is based in Trang. He noted that the smugglers are now using smaller vessels, so that when a boat is seized by the police they lose less of their investment. This was a sign, he said, that the crackdown by the police is giving the smugglers problems. This is the second time the Kaewmanee Nava 2 has been stopped with smuggled fuel on board. The first time, it was seized by the authorities and then, as is normal procedure, auctioned off.
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