Customs warns drivers not to use illicit fuel

13 Apr 2004

Customs officers today (April 13) arrested 13 drivers (12 men and a woman) and impounded 26 coaches, a towing truck and an oil tanker suspected to be involved in the use of illicit fuel in their crackdown on a self-service illicit fuel refilling station in Hung Shui Kiu, Yuen Long.

In a press briefing to round up the operation, the Divisional Commander of the Diesel Oil Enforcement Division, Mr Lam Sze-hau, warned people that the use of illicit fuel was a criminal offence.

Under the Dutiable Commodities Ordinance, buying and selling illicit oil is liable to prosecution. The maximum penalty is a fine of $1 million and imprisonment for two years.

Drivers concerned, once convicted, will have a criminal record and their vehicles will be forfeited.

When convicted twice in connection with illicit oil offence, drivers will have their driving licence suspended for six months. Those convicted three or more times will have their driving licence suspended for more than six months.

During today's operation, Customs officers from the Revenue and General Investigation Bureau arrested 12 men and a woman, aged between 25 and 60, and seized about 6,000 litres of illicit fuel, worth about $29,520 and with a duty potential of $17,340.

Those arrested will be charged with "being in charge of a motor vehicle with marked oil in the fuel tank" and "placing marked oil in the fuel tank of a motor vehicle".

In the first three months this year, 53 people have been arrested in 51 cases relating to the use of illicit fuel in fuel tanks; while in 2004, 265 people were arrested in 251 such cases.

Ends/Wednesday, April 13, 2005

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