Fake gasoline ring busted after fierce resistance in southern Vietnam

By Phuoc Tuan   February 9, 2021 | 05:23 am PT
Fake gasoline ring busted after fierce resistance in southern Vietnam
Police check the fake gasoline on a vessel in Vinh Long Province, February 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Thai Ha.
Police have arrested 26 people involved in a ring making and trading counterfeit fuel in the Mekong Delta's Vinh Long Province.

A large team of 500 police officers raided an islet in the middle of the Hau River last Saturday and found people making fake fuel. The gangsters resisted fiercely, crashing a large boat into the police canoe as they tried to escape from the islet in My Hoa Commune, Binh Minh District. However, the police prevailed.

Simultaneously, other police officers raided a series of gasoline stations in Ving Long, Long An, Can Tho, Dong Nai, Vung Tau and HCMC, nabbing suspects related to the ring.

In all, the police arrested 26 people, seized two 2,500-ton vessels, five 400-1,000-ton vessels, six tankers, 2.68 million liters of gasoline, four barrels of chemicals and some documents and papers.

The 26 will be investigated for smuggling, producing and trading in counterfeit goods and illegal invoices and receipts.

Nguyen Huu Tru, 56, a Vinh Long resident, has been identified as the ring’s leader.

Police bust a gas station in Trang Bom District of Dong Nai Province, February 6, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Thai Ha

Police bust a gas station in Trang Bom District of Dong Nai Province for selling fake gasoline, February 6, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Thai Ha.

The large-scale raid was made after police in Dong Nai received reports from locals on low quality gasoline being sold by several stations in the province.

Dong Nai police detected a fake gasoline production ring and collaborated with colleagues in other southern provinces and the Ministry of Public Security to bust it.

Investigators later found that the ring had established companies and operated several gas stations to sell the counterfeit products they produced.

Members of the ring used vessels to buy gasoline from wholesalers and then moved the product to a facility on the Vinh Long Islet before using chemicals and solvents to make the 95-octane grade gasoline A95.

The fake fuel was distributed to warehouses across different provinces before being retailed.

According to investigators, around one million liters of fake gasoline were being provided to the market each day.

The ring operated efficiently, assigning specific tasks for each member at every step – from pumping the gasoline to legalizing papers and transporting. This had made it very difficult to bust it, police said.

In 2019, Trinh Suong, a fuel tycoon, was arrested for running a fake gasoline manufacturing and trading ring.

Suong, 52, was caught by the police in Central Highlands province of Dak Nong. Following his arrest, investigators discovered six facilities making and selling the counterfeit product in HCMC and the Mekong Delta's Can Tho, Hau Giang and Soc Trang.

Since early 2017 until his ring was busted, Suong had spent VND3 trillion ($129 million) on mixing toluene with solvents and artificial colors to make fake gasoline.

Every month, the ring had sold up to six million liters of the fake fuel, earning up to VND130 billion ($5.57 million), police had said.

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