11 arrested after captains abused in diesel racket

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 October, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 October, 1999, 12:00am

Fishing boats and cargo vessels have been stoned and their captains abused when they refused to buy diesel from triad-operated oil barges, police said.

Marine officers arrested 11 suspected gang members at 3am yesterday, all of whom allegedly were involved in the physical and verbal attacks.

'The syndicate members were allegedly trying to monopolise the oil business and prevent clients from going elsewhere,' Chief Inspector Richard Tang Lap-chin, of the Marine Regional Crime Unit, said.

Vessel masters reported the alleged criminal intimidation to police earlier this year, prompting an investigation.

The syndicate is suspected of sending a motorised sampan to intercept fishing and cargo boats.

When the masters refused to buy diesel from triad members, 'they were sworn at and their boats stoned', Mr Tang said.

The vessels targeted were moored off Castle Peak, Tap Shek Kok and Lung Kwu Tan.

Diesel oil sold by the suspected triad members cost more than the market rate.

Mr Tang could not give an exact figure for the number of masters intimidated as many of the boats were mainland vessels.

The 11 men, aged between 18 and 33, were arrested at 12 flats in Tuen Mun and Castle Peak.

They were still being questioned last night. No charges had been laid.