Saturday January 5, 2013
‘Haunted’ JB petrol stations limiting sales to curb black market trade
By NELSON BENJAMIN
JOHOR BARU: Petrol station operators in Johor, “haunted” by the existence of “ghost lorries” that move discretely to re-sell subsidised diesel on the black market, are now limiting the sales of the fuel.
This, however, has not stopped these lorries from going “station hopping” to fill their tanks with as much subsidised diesel as they can for re-selling to customers in Singapore and industrial users in Pasir Gudang and Tanjung Langsat.
It is understood that many petrol stations, especially those in Johor Baru, are limiting their sale to between RM50 and RM100 per transaction, although the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry allows up to 250 litres for each transaction at RM1.80 per litre and RM2.75 per litre for industrial users.
The “ghost lorries” or lori hantu are off-road trucks that work on a free-lance basis and often used for devious rather than legal purposes.
A source said syndicates behind the diesel smuggling have vans plying the North-South expressway with pumps to siphon the fuel from such lorries parked at rest areas.
Among the syndicates’ clients are tugboat operators, who pay RM2.40 per litre for the fuel, earning the smugglers a 60 sen profit.
State Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Department director Ayub Abd Rahman said they had seized RM5mil worth of diesel from these lorries in the past 45 raids.
The department found modified petrol tanks that pump the diesel to other special tanks inside a lorry, which can hold up to 3,000 litres.
Those with information of diesel smuggling activities can contact the department hotline at 07-227 2828.