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April 29, 2014

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20 nabbed in raid on offshore diesel gang

TWENTY members of a gang that illegally sold 63 million yuan (US$10 million) worth of cut-price diesel from tanker ships off Changxing Island have been detained, police said yesterday.

As well as the culprits, two vessels and 500 tons of fuel were seized during a moonlight raid on April 18, which employed a police helicopter fitted with thermal imaging equipment.

According to police, the gang operated by buying diesel from foreign tankers located offshore at a price of 4,500 yuan per ton. They then sold it on — while still at sea — to a man surnamed Wu for 6,500 yuan per ton, who, in turn, moved it to Jiangsu Province and sold it for 6,900 yuan per ton.

From July last year to their arrest, the diesel dealers netted 3.6 million yuan in profit from 18 deals worth 63 million yuan, police said.

Authorities were alerted to the group following a tipoff from the public in January.

On further investigation, officers discovered the gang was planning to make a deal on April 18, and dispatched five boats and a helicopter to the scene.

A total of 19 people were arrested on the night and a 20th man handed himself in the following day.

The police bust was the first to employ both boats and a helicopter at night.

The infrared thermal imaging equipment installed in the aircraft enabled officers to film the incident for use as evidence.


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