Touts offer cut-rate 'take-away' deals

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 May, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 May, 1997, 12:00am

SYNDICATES selling illegal diesel are handing out business cards urging customers to call a pager or mobile phone number to fill their tanks at cut-rate prices.

Customs and Excise officers said the flagrant touting of black market fuel - for one-third of the legitimate price - was a new tactic.

'There are several new smuggling and selling methods. This one is just like ordering a take-away,' said diesel oil enforcement acting Assistant Superintendent Ronnie Ng Yan-kwong.

'You call them and give the password, then they give you a location to go and make the transaction, usually in a remote area,' he said.

The untaxed diesel was smuggled from China, usually Shekou, by fishing boats fitted with auxiliary fuel tanks to store the contraband.

The fuel is then pumped into drums on lorries parked alongside fish markets and typhoon shelters, particularly along the Castle Peak coast.

'These boats are often difficult for Customs officers to stop at sea because they just tell us the additional tanks hold extra fuel for deep sea fishing,' Mr Ng said.

Raids had to be carried out during the pumping process.

He said dealers who operated in Kowloon last year had moved to remote areas of the New Territories.