KOTA BHARU, 10 Feb 2017:

The Kelantan Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry (KPDNKK) detained a Thai national and seized smuggled petrol from three cars whose rear seats were each modified into 500-litre capacity tanks to conceal the fuel.

The smuggled petrol were seized in a raid at a petrol station in Kemahang, Tanah Merah near here yesterday morning.

Two of the Thai’s accomplices gave the team of KPDNKK enforcement officers the slip in the incident about 6.30am.

State KPDNKK director Datuk Ab Ghani Harun said at the time of the raid, the three men were refueling when they spotted the enforcement officers.

“We managed to detain the Thai and seize the cars while his accomplices fled,” he told reporters at the KPDNKK vehicle storage depot in Chica Menyabong here.

Ab Ghani said investigations revealed the three vehicles were modified with the rear seats turned into 500-litres capacity tank each, adding that several jerry cans of petrol were found in the boot compartments of the vehicles.

“Their modus operandi was to fill up petrol at stations near the Bukit Bunga bridge, Tanah Merah, using local vehicles before smuggling them into Thailand.

“We believe their activities had been going on for some time. Stern action will be taken against petrol stations found to be in cahoots with smugglers.”

In another development, Ab Ghani said he would hold a meeting with 18 suppliers of subsidised cooking oil in the state soon, following complaints of a shortage in the market.

“We believe this happened due to the Chinese New Year celebrations last week. The situation will normalise soon as the monthly quota of 2,200 metric tonnes of cooking oil should be enough for the state.”

Meanwhile Thai authorities seized 5,000 boxes of various brands of cigarettes and 8,000 kg of cooking oil smuggled from Malaysia in two separate operations in Wang Prachan.

Satun Region 5 Task Force Army chief Col Nipon Chanthana said the cigarettes were seized from a car passing through the inspection centre in Wang Prachan on Wednesday evening.

“The car ferrying 5,000 boxes of cigarettes was driven by a 27-year-old local man,” he said, adding that the success of the seizure was due to intelligence information.

He said the authorities were investigating to determine the mastermind in the smuggling attempt.

In the second incident, also late on Wednesday, he said soldiers raided a building without address in Kampung Wang Prachan and seized 8,000 kg of cooking oil smuggled from Malaysia.

Nipon said the one-kg packet of cooking oil smuggled from Malaysia was being sold at 35 baht (RM4.48), and a five-kg bottle of cooking oil sold at 200 baht (RM25.60) in southern Thailand.

If sold outside southern Thailand, the price would be higher, he said.

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