Reuters reports that Chinese customs officials have confirmed the arrest of 11 ships and 171 individuals earlier this week following a multi-agency operation against local criminal groups attempting to smuggle refined oil by sea.
The arrests were made by local maritime police units and other law enforcement agencies on Tuesday, March 16.
The operation spanned eight regions but was concentrated in the southeastern coastal provinces of Fujian, Jiangsu, Shandong, and Zhejiang.
Officials said the oil that the various perpetrators had intended to smuggle totalled nearly one million tonnes and had an estimated value of RMB5 billion (US$770 million). Further, the oil is said to be inferior in quality and more damaging to the environment due to its sulphur content being well above maximum legal limits.
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