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Diesel oil theft suspects caught

24 October 2012
The collaboration of the Yangtze police in Wuhan and Yueyang has led to the arrest of three of six suspects involved in one of the biggest thefts on the river in recent years, according to an article in China Waterway Newspaper. The police are still hunting for the remaining three suspects.

In the early hours of 7 August and after meticulous planning, the suspects allegedly sailed their tanker barge ‘Tong Yuan You 7888’ to the storage terminal operated by Sinopec Hunan Distribution Co in Yueyang, Hunan province. With a pipe and a hand-held pump, they transferred 62.26 tons of diesel oil, worth Rmb500,000, from a storage tank to their barge before speeding downstream towards Wuhan at around 4am.

The barge was stopped by a patrol of Wuhan Yangtze police, who went on board for an inspection. By then, only two men were found on the barge. Unable to explain the source of the oil, the two men and their vessel were detained on suspicion of illegal trading.

In the meantime, the theft was reported to the local Yangtze police in Yueyang, about 250km upstream of Wuhan. This was the biggest ever theft that the local Yangtze police had ever dealt with and Yueyang police chief Zhang Caian led the investigation himself.

After collecting evidence on the crime scene, the investigation team visited their counterparts in Wuhan and soon concluded that the theft and the detained barge might be related.

At the end of August, the two suspects detained on board, and a third who was later caught, were transported to Yueyang to face criminal charges. The police are confident that they will catch the remaining three suspects and bring the case to a closure. The case is likely to be tried in Wuhan Maritime Court.

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