Singapore Police Bust Refinery Robbers

11 of 17 men charged over suspected oil theft from Shell's Singapore refinery

11 men charged for stealing fuel from Shell site on Pulau Bukom

About 4,384 metric tonnes of gasoil, valued at S$2.4 million, were stolen from Shell's biggest refinery.

Muhammad Ali similarly faces a charge of abetment by conspiracy with Muzaffar Ali, Tiah, Cai and Koh to misappropriate 1,260 metric tonnes of gas oil in the early hours of Sunday.

"Shell reported a suspected theft to the authorities after we became aware that we may have been the victim of a crime", said the spokesman.

The suspects, aged between 30 and 63, were detained on Sunday in raids across Singapore, after the energy giant first alerted police in August past year.

Shell confirmed that eight of the people were "former or current" employees.

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The charges seen so far allege three incidents of gasoil theft: on November 21, 2017, of more than 2,322 tons valued at S$1.277 million ($958,564.78); and on January 5 and 7 this year of a combined 2,062 tons of gasoil, valued at S$1.126 million.

Both are accused of engaging in a conspiracy to dishonestly receive 1,260 metric tons of gas oil worth $687,960 which was transferred from Pulau Bukom to vessel Prime South at around 7pm on Sunday.

Some $3.05 million in cash and a 12,000-tonne tanker weighing were seized in the operation.

Eleven men were charged yesterday in connection with the misappropriation of fuel worth more than $2 million from Shell Singapore. The police also froze the men's bank accounts to prevent the suspected criminal proceeds from being dissipated.

In a statement late on Monday, Shell said the company anticipates a "short delay in the supply operations at Bukom, but at this point we expect to continue to meet our contractual supply obligations to customers".

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A view of the Bukom Island industrial site in western Singapore, where Shell has one of its most important production sites in the world.

Bukom is a giant 500,000 bpd refinery on a pair of islands southwest of Singapore, and it has a combination of crude oil refining and petrochemical facilities on the same site.

Illicit oil trading is widespread in Southeast Asia.

There has been a modest decline since then, although the organization said in a quarterly report that oil theft was still "of concern", especially in the South China Sea, off the east coast of Malaysia.

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