Professionalism displayed by Customs officers of the Diesel Oil Enforcement Division resulted in the neutralisation of an illicit oil storage and distribution centre in San Tin this morning (September 7).
Following extensive investigations and close surveillance, the officers raided a target unit near Castle Peak Road, San Tin and seized 7,500 litres of illicit oil and three lorries, worth a total of $200,000.
During the operation, the officers also arrested four men. Three of those arrested, aged from 22 to 39, will later be charged with "dealing with goods to which the Dutiable Commodities Ordinance applies". The other man, a 43-year-old illegal immigrant, will be handed over to the Police for further enquiries.
Under the Dutiable Commodities Ordinance, any person convicted of "dealing with goods to which the Dutiable Commodities Ordinance applies" is liable to a fine of $1 million and imprisonment of two years.
A spokesman for the Customs and Excise Department said, "Preliminary enquiries revealed that the illicit oil was for distribution to illicit filling stations in the North Western New Territories".
The spokesman warned that the use of illicit oil was a criminal offence. Drivers concerned, once convicted, would have a criminal record and their vehicles would be forfeited. They would also be liable to a maximum fine of $1 million and imprisonment for two years.
Drivers convicted twice in connection with illicit oil offences would have their driving licences suspended for six months. Drivers convicted three times or more would have their driving licences suspended for more than six months.
The spokesman appealed to the public to report any illicit oil activities by calling the Customs 24-hour hotline at 2545 6182.
Ends/Tuesday, September 7, 2004