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Customs actively detected petrol smuggling activities in Binh Thuan

21:09 | 26/04/2018

VCN – The petrol smuggling case of Duong Dong Hoa Phu Joint Stock Company happening in 2016 in Binh Thuan, has attracted public attention recently. Just a few people know that the case was actively discovered by the Custom anti-smuggling forces and the steps for investigating the case were carried out according to the specialized agency of the Customs.

customs actively detected petrol smuggling activities in binh thuan
BTS Christina ship was found illegally transporting goods across the border and detained in early 2016.

Clues about the petrol smuggling lines

According to Anti-smuggling and Investigation Department’s documents - General Department of Vietnam Customs, taking advantage of legal status of Duong Dong Hoa Phu Company as a focal point for importing petroleum, from July 2015 to November 2015, object Luyen Xuan Trang (not belonging to the company) and other objects smuggled petrol by hiring a foreign ship with a tonnage of over 10,000 tons to carry gasoline and oil purchased from Singapore to Hoa Phu port and to directly pump into storage tanks. However, the import procedures were done at Binh Thuan Customs Department and only about 2,000 tons to 3,000 tons were declared on the customs declaration. The amount of gasoline, oil remaining (about 8000 tons to 10.000 tons) was not declared by the objects. This is estimated to be worth billions of VND.

After filling up at the warehouse in Hoa Phu, a quantity of petrol was retailed to customers in the South Central and the Central Highlands, while the rest was delivered to Hai Phong and Thai Binh, by a ship with a tonnage of between 2,000 and 6,000 tons. On the way to Hai Phong and Thai Binh, the objects legalized the goods by Inventory transfer to the 19/9 Petrol Store, MIPEC petrol store, Diem Dien Port for sale in Hai Phong and other northern provinces. The objects used internal transportation procedures to deliver it to No. 19/9 warehouse, belonging to Haiphong Joint Stock Company (Duong Dong Hoa Phu Company had already signed a contract to rent 19/9 warehouse to store the goods).

Through the Custom database system, customs forces found that, in 6/2015, Duong Dong Hoa Phu Company had opened 31 declarations to import 110,729.00 tons of petrol including 91,279.12 tons of diesel; 19,449.88 tons of RON A92 gasoline (110,729.00 tons in total).

More importantly, the ship receiving goods from foreign ports had a large tonnage, but when importin, only a small amount compared with the ship’s tonnage was declared by Duong Dong Hoa Phu Company on the customs declaration and imported petroleum form. For example, the total tonnage of cargo ships is 335,000 tons, but the amount of petroleum declared at the Customs agency was 110,729 tons. As such, the difference between ship tonnage/petrol amount that were declared at the customs agency was 224,271 tons.

Comparing the figures, the customs authorities found that the declared loads of the gasoline carriers were higher than those declared in the import declarations. Therefore, it was considered that the enterprise reduced the actual quantity to smuggle gasoline.

Solving the case

Based on the verification results and the collected information, the Anti-smuggling and Investigation Department determined that this was a serious smuggling activity. Therefore, on 4/1/2016, the Anti-smuggling and Investigation Department decided to set up XD116 project and built a plan to solve the case.

About 11:00 pm on January 27, 2016, the Reconnaissance team detected the BTS CHRISTINA ship in the area of Thu Isle (Phu Quy island) moving into the Duong Dong Hoa Phu Port. Observing the water level, it determined that the ship had a full cargo.

In the early morning of 28/1/2016, the BTS CHRISTINA carried 9,373.636 tons of RON 92 gasoline to the floating dock of Duong Dong Hoa Phu Company to await for pumping gasoline into the company's warehouse. At 8:30 am on the same day, Duong Dong Hoa Phu JSC opened the customs declaration No. 100726667900 at Binh Thuan Customs Department, the declared item was RON92 petrol, volume 1,877.562 tons, valued at 804,266.826 USD, shipped on BTS CHRISTINA from Singapore to Vietnam.

At 10:00 am on January 28th, 2016, the Crime Investigation team started moving from Ho Chi Minh City to Phan Thiet City (about 63 km from Duong Dong Hoa Phu Company) and located there to ensure the confidentiality of the case.

Around 10:00pm on 28/01/2016, the team moved from Phan Thiet City to the wharf area of ​​Phu Thuy village - Hoa Phu - Tuy Phong - Binh Thuan, about 5km from the anchorage of the ship. After checking attendance and assigning tasks, the team set up 2 scout directions.

First, the direction at sea, about 00:20am on 29/01/2016, the team including officials of the Anti-smuggling and Investigation Department, General Department of Vietnam Customs and C46, and the Ministry of Public Security, were on the BTS CHRISTINA, controlling all the crew and discovered that they were pumping gasoline illegally into the warehouse of Duong Dong Hoa Phu Company. Carrying out inspection of the entire cargo holds, the total pumped volume was 3,246 tons, the remaining volume on the ship was 6,137.636 tons, the team made a record of crime; seized BTS CHRISTINA with 6,137.636 tons of RON 92 gasoline, seized all documents relating to the ship and cargo, and sealed all cargo holds on board.

After receiving information from the first direction at sea, the second direction captained all warehouse staff and conducted a stock search, detecting the amount of gasoline pumped into the tanks T105, T108, T104 was 3,246 tons of RON92 gasoline. The team decided to detain 3,246 tons of RON92 gasoline, seize all documents related to the cargo and seal the mentioned tanks.

As a result, the two directions of the XD116 Project Division had arrested unleaded A92 petrol (RON 92) totaling 9,173.349 tons, equivalent to 13,104.784 m3 = 13,104,784 liters (gasoline density is, 1m3 = 0.7 tons). Calculated at market price at the time of arrest, 1 liter of unleaded A92 petrol was equivalent to 15,442 VND, the total value of the shipment was over 200 billion VND.

Shortly thereafter, the Anti-smuggling and Investigation Department cooperated with C46 Department to make a record of guilt, and at the same time handed over all documents and material evidence to the investigating police agency for further handling in accordance with the law.

On 3/2/2016, the police investigation agency of the Ministry of Public Security has decided to prosecute criminal cases, prosecute the accused and issued the arrest warrants to 8 subjects including Nguyen Duc Manh (General Director Nguyen Thanh Son (Deputy General Director), Vu Van Bang (Sales Manager), Nguyen Dang Duy (Deputy Sales Manager), Nguyen Duc Quang (sales staff), Luyen Xuan Trang on smuggling; Aleria Romel Pagente (Philippine nationality, captain of BTS Christina) on charges of illegal cross-border goods transportation. Extension of the investigation, the investigation police arrested four more subjects.

At present, the Supreme People's Procuracy has just completed the prosecution of 12 accused in petrol smuggling case of Duong Dong Hoa Phu Joint Stock Company and handed over the file to Binh Thuan People's Court to prepare judgement.

By Quang Hung/Ha Thanh