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More arrested for oil heist and additional charges filed

The authorities have earlier brought additional charges on Monday (15 January) against nine Singaporeans who were behind the multimillion-dollar fuel oil heist at Shell’s Pulau Bukom refinery.

According to Today Online, there were more suspects who have been arrested in relation to the case, totalling to at least 20 people.

14 people, 11 Singaporeans and three Vietnamese nationals, have been charged, although it is still unclear when the remaining suspects would be hauled to court.

Currently, the total amount involved is around S$3.6 million.

Five of the suspects, who were Shell employees at the time of their offences, were served with two additional charges over two more instances of them conspiring to misappropriate gas oil at their company’s Bukom manufacturing site.

Muzaffar Ali Khan Muhamad Akram, 36, Juandi Pungot, 41, Cai Zhi Zhong, 35, Tiah Kok Hwee, 41, and Koh Choon Wei, 35, allegedly stole 300 metric tonnes of gas oil worth S$165,000 on 11 November 2016, as well as 1,077 metric tonnes of gas oil worth S$592,300 on the evening of 31 December.

Muhammad Ali Muhammad Nor, 51, who is not a Shell employee, was also served additional charges.

According to his charge sheets, he was involved in the 31 December conspiracy by engaging with the five Shell employees, as well as Vietnamese national Doan Xuan Than, 45, who was arrested later and had been charged last Saturday with dishonestly receiving 1,349 metric tonnes of gas oil worth S$736,445 at 8 pm on the same day.

However, it is still unclear who Muhammad Ali was working for.

Three other Shell employees who were mired in the case were served one more charge for committing a similar act in the early hours of 14 November.

On the very same day, Mohd Ibrahim K Abdul Majid, 52, Abdul Latif Ibrahim, 59, and Richard Goh Chee Keong, 48, allegedly engaged in a conspiracy to steal 846 metric tonnes of Shell’s gas oil valued at S$465,520.

If convicted of these charges, they could be jailed for up to 15 years and subjected to a fine.

These nine suspects were earlier charged with criminal breach of trust by a clerk or servant on 9 January.

They were among the 17 people arrested in the police sting operation, which was launched following a report lodged by Shell Singapore in August 2017.

In an operation mounted on 7 January 2018, officers from the Criminal Investigation Department, Police Intelligence Department and Police Coast Guard conducted simultaneous raids islandwide, resulting in the arrests.

During the operation, case exhibits including cash amounting to approximately S$3.05 million and a tanker weighing approximately 12,000 tonnes were seized for investigations. The Police also initiated the freezing of the suspects’ bank accounts to prevent dissipation of suspected criminal proceeds.

There are not many details on the case yet. However, the court documents stated that last Tuesday, five of the suspects, Muzaffar Ali, Juandi, Cai, Tiah and Koh, allegedly conspired and abetted to misappropriate 2,322 metric tonnes of gas oil worth S$1.3 million at Pulau Bukom on 21 November 2017.

The five allegedly committed the offence again on 7 Jan. This time, they conspired with Muhammad Ali and stole some 1,260 tonnes of Shell fuel, valued at around S$688,000, shortly before they were arrested.

The plunder was then moved onto a Panama-registered vessel, Prime South, where two Vietnamese nationals allegedly received the fuel.

Nguyen Duc Quang, 46, and Dang Van Hanh, 37, were charged last Tuesday with abetment by conspiracy to dishonestly receive the fuel and the case will be heard in court again on Tuesday.

While, Goh, Ibrahim and Latif, allegedly conspired on 5 January to misappropriate more than 800 tonnes of fuel, worth around S$437,800, from the company.

The nine suspects will be remanded for another week until 22 January when their cases will be heard in court again.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Stephanie Chew told District Judge Christopher Goh that they could face further charges pending further investigation in serving the nine suspects with additional charges on Monday.

Pointing out to the fact that there are three more people who were arrested in the police’s follow-up investigations were charged on Saturday, DPP Chew stated that there could also be possible fresh arrests.

Besides Doan, two other suspects who are not Shell employees, Alan Tan Cheng Chuan, 45, and Ng Hock Teck, 54, were charged on Saturday with one count of abetting the commission of an offence of criminal breach of trust as servants each.