PHUKET: Customs officials who seized over 200,000 liters of smuggled diesel fuel off Phuket on Monday suspect the profits from such sales are likely being channeled to support terrorist activities.
“Customs have been cracking down on illegally imported goods, especially fuel, which is probably being used to support terrorism,” said Rakob Srisupa, director of the Customs Department Marine Investigation and Suppression Bureau Region 2 office at Phuket Deep Sea Port.
The comments came at a press conference on Tuesday, when Mr Rakob announced the seizure at 3:30am the night before of the 141-tonne vessel Nok Nan Nam about 10 kilometers east of Koh Racha Noi.
The vessel was laden with about 230,000 liters of illegal diesel with an estimated black market value of approximately 6.9 million baht, the press was told.
The Burmese captain, Lin Au, and his six Burmese crew members were arrested.
“The suspects confessed that they were hired to smuggle fuel from Phuket to Ranong,” said Director Rakob.
“They told us that the boat owner was Thai,” he added.
The suspects have been charged for delivering goods with the intention of defrauding the government by failure to pay taxes.
— Chutharat Plerin
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