17 men arrested for Shell oil heist with 11 charged on Tuesday

Shell reported its suspicions of theft at the refinery on Pulau Bukom off Singapore which can process 500,000 barrels of oil a day

Shell reported its suspicions of theft at the refinery on Pulau Bukom off Singapore which can process 500,000 barrels of oil a dayROYAL DUTCH SHELL

Singapore has charged 11 with stealing SGD2.4m ($1.79m) in gas oil from Shell's Palau Bukom refinery transferring the oil to a tanker bound for Vietnam.

Juandi Pungot, 41, Cai Zhi Zhong, 34, Muzaffar Ali Khan Muhamad Akram, 36, Koh Choon Wei, 35, and Tiah Kok Hwee, 41, who face two counts each for siphoning fuel on Nov 21 and Jan 7, with a combined worth of almost S$2 million.

A police statement said the 17 men, aged 30-63, were detained Sunday.

In another court, Vietnamese nationals, Nguyen Duc Quang, 46, and Dang Van Hanh, 37, are accused of abetment by conspiracy to dishonestly receive about 1,260 metric tonnes of oil which they had reason to believe was stolen.

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The Vietnamese nationals were charged with receiving gas oil in the early evening hours of January 7, at wharf 5 at the heart of Shell's operations on Bukom island, the documents show. Juandi, Cai, Koh, Tiah and Muzaffar each face two counts of CBT while the rest face one count of CBT each.

Shell confirmed that eight of the people were "former or current" employees. The same men and Muhammad Ali are also accused of misappropriating 1,260 metric tons of gas oil valued at $687,960 belonging to Shell Eastern Petroleum on Sunday around 7pm.

Shell has not said how much oil was taken.

All 11 could face further charges.

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District Judge Christopher Goh adjourned the nine men's case to Jan 15, while District Judge Adam Nakhoda fixed the Vietnamese nationals' case for mention on Jan 16.

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.

Police said Tuesday that they also seized $2.3 million and an oil tanker in connection with the theft, which was first reported in August. They have also frozen suspects' bank accounts.

Staff at Royal Dutch Shell have been charged with the theft of industrial volumes of diesel from the company's biggest refinery after raids in Singapore last weekend.

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"We anticipate 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", said a company statement.

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