The Jakarta Post
Officers with the Mataram Police have aborted an alleged attempt to smuggle hundreds of 3-kilogram liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) canisters from Lombok to Sumbawa islands in West Nusa Tenggara.
Two smuggling suspects, Budiman, 35, and Abdul Haris, 50, and a truck containing more than 400 of 3-kg LPG canisters have been taken into custody by the Mataram Police.
The police’s criminal investigation unit chief Adj.Sr.Haris Dinzah said the police intercepted the smugglers on Narmada highway in West Lombok, on Saturday, when they were on the way to Lombok-Sumbawa Port in East Lombok.
“We got a report on the smuggling attempt and we followed up [...],” said Haris.
He said the suspects admitted they had conducted the illegal activity for one year. As a method of operation, they first bought subsidized LPG in retails in Mataram city and West Lombok regency, with an average price of between Rp 12,000 (91 US cents) and Rp 13,000 per canister. They gathered the canisters and sent them to Sumbawa via trucks. To deceive security officers, the perpetrators hid each of the gas canisters in a used mineral water boxes.
In Sumbawa, they sold the subsidized LPG canisters to consumers at non-subsidized prices, ranging in between Rp 23,000 and Rp 25,000 per canister.
“They smuggled them to Sumbawa as subsidized LPG canisters are not yet available on the island. People in Sumbawa still use subsidized kerosene; the kerosene-to-gas conversion program has not yet been implemented in the area,” said Haris.
From each delivery, Haris said, the perpetrators could get a profit up to Rp 4 million. “In his testimony, Abdul claimed their profits could reach Rp 60 million per month,” he said. (ebf)
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