Territory-wide anti-illicit fuel operation

17 Jun 2005

Customs officers of Diesel Oil Enforcement Division have conducted a territory-wide anti-illicit fuel operation codenamed "Rooster 91" from June 13, intercepting vehicles for inspection to crack down on illicit use of marked oil.

The operation covered Tuen Mun, Yuen Long, Tseung Kwan O, Sai Ying Pun, Quarry Bay, Sau Mau Ping, Kwai Chung, Kowloon City and all land boundary control points.

A total of 3,188 vehicles were inspected. Of them, 11 vehicles were found to have contained marked oil.

Besides, the officers compounded two dump trucks, one installed with altered fuel tank to carry illicit fuel, and another suspected of repeated offence.

They also arrested 11 men, aged between 26 and 58.

The total seizure was worth about $73,000 and the 610 litres of illicit fuel seized carried a duty potential of $1,762.

"It is shown in this operation that most of the drivers respected the laws. However, we continue to appeal to drivers not to use illicit fuel for convenience sake or for minimal savings," a spokesman for Customs and Excise Department said today (June 17).

Using illicit fuel is a criminal offence. Drivers concerned, once convicted, would have a criminal record and their vehicles would be forfeited. Offenders would also be liable to a maximum fine of $1 million and imprisonment for two years. Drivers convicted twice in connection with illicit oil offence would have their driving licence suspended for six months. Drivers convicted thrice or more would have their driving licence suspended for more than six months.

The spokesman reiterated that Hong Kong Customs would continue its stringent enforcement in combating illicit fuel activities.

In case members of the public come across any suspected illicit fuel activities, they are advised to report to the Customs 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.

Ends/Friday, June 17, 2005

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