Posted on August 09, 2018 by Ashleigh Cowie
As part of a crackdown on refined oil smugglers, China's coast guard has detained 3,587 people in 18 major smuggling operations since last year.
China's Coast Guard officers have discovered more than 800 smaller cases of smuggling and confiscated more than 700,000 metric tons of refined petroleum products, according to a recent report by the Coast Guard.
The cost of the confiscated oil amounts to approximately 3.3 billion yuan ($483 million).
The findings are part of several campaigns since 2017 to target the rise in refined oil smuggling in the region. 15000 naval patrols were used to uncover 856 cases of smuggling.
In a statement, the Coast Guard said: "Trafficking oil products seriously violates the normal market order and has a serious impact on the fair trade of oil products, so we will seriously fight such crimes and punish the traffickers".
Rising profits and loopholes in supervision are said to be to blame for the increasing levels of smuggling nationwide.
According to the Coast Guard, most oil smuggling cases are organised crimes, and traffickers are advanced in their methods. Gang members assume different tasks, including deceiving customs officers, transporting the oil and seeking clients.
In August last year, the coastal police in Fujian province arrested 99 suspects for alleged smuggling refined oil. They also destroyed two underground oil depots. 180,000 tons of oil products were seized alongside 17 vessels and 10 oil tankers.
In July this year, the Coast Guard in Jiangsu province captured 38 suspects and seized five vessels involved in the case. Jiangsu coastal police also seized 100,000 tons of refined oil valued at 650 million yuan.
As a result fo the investigation police officers have increase patrols in the region and the China Coast Guard has said it will maintain pressure against these crimes.