The “Jae Fang” gang, according to Thai assistant national police chief Pol Lt-Gen Surachate Hakparn, utilises pickup trucks and lorries to transport items to Malaysia before refuelling at petrol stations there and travelling back to Thailand.
The smuggling syndicate used vehicles with modified fuel tanks to transport hundreds of thousands of litres of fuel to a storage facility at a warehouse in Hatyai, Songkhla, about 30km from the Thailand-Malaysia border.
“Initial investigations found a modified fuel tank can carry about 1,000 litres of fuel per trip. There are a number of pickup trucks making an average of 10 trips per day. The syndicate would transport hundreds of thousands of litres of fuel every month,” said Hakparn.
The investigation results revealed that gang members would leave early in the morning to drive to the closest border town in Malaysia to “deliver goods” before refuelling their vehicles. After returning to the storage facility near the Thai border, they would discharge the fuel and undertake additional border crossings.
At the Hatyai facility, Thai police recently detained two people and seized 2000 litres of petrol.
According to Hakparn, fuel smuggling costs Thailand more than 100 million baht (RM13 million) in annual tax revenue. Between Thailand and Malaysia, the cost of fuel and petrol differs significantly. In Thailand, a litre of diesel costs almost 33 baht (RM 4.24) as opposed to Malaysia’s RM2.15 per litre.
In Malaysia, RON97 costs RM3.35 and RON95 RM2.05. Gasohol 95 costs 36.85 baht (RM4.74) in Thailand, whereas gasohol 91 is priced at 36.58 baht (RM4.71).