2 detained for gas-siphoning, suspected fuel fraud in Vietnam

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Containers of many sizes which contain different types of gas and oil found at Dung's rented space

Police in Binh Duong Province's Di An Town arrested a man and a woman, who they also suspect of producing fake gasoline, for their illegal gas-siphoning on Wednesday (January 2).

Nguyen Van Hoa, 35, from Tay Ninh Province and Do Thi Kim Dung, 38, a Binh Duong local, were followed and caught red-handed on November 3 as they illegally siphoned 1,950 liters of fuel with a low octane rating (A83) from the tanker that Dung drove for the Tay Ninh-based Long Van Company.

Di An Police have seized several jars of brown powder and tanks of different kinds of gasoline and oil from the location in Binh Thang Ward that Dung had rented to buy waste materials.

Police said Hoa mixed A83 gas bought in Cat Lai Ward of Ho Chi Minh City's District 2 with the brown powder to change it from red to blue, the color of A92 -- the fuel which has higher octane rating than A83, to pass it off as such.

They quoted him as saying that every teaspoon of the powder, which he bought at Kim Bien market in HCMC, would be mixed with 2,000 liters of A83. 


The brown power, which can change the red color of A83 into A92 blue

Hoa sold Dung around 2,000 liters of A83 each time, and bought from her the same amount of diesel oil to pipe into the tanker, in order to conceal his fraud, police said, without providing further details.  

Preliminary results from examining the powder showed that Hoa used "an organic coloring powder dissolving in gasoline."  

Major Nguyen Khac Viet of Di An Police told Thanh Nien that the results have yet to reveal if mixing the powder with A83 gas can cause vehicle fires. They only showed that the powder can change the gasoline's color, but so far, the A83 gas' quality seems to remain unchanged.

The tanker which Hoa drove was seized as part of the ongoing investigation 

Police are investigating further.

A83 gas is used for low capacity engines or low-tech vehicles. Most of the gas stations do not sell A83 any longer, and authorities have found many cases of people fraudulently turning A83 into A92.  

The HCMC Department of Science and Technology announced last May the results of study conducted by the HCMC University of Technology, which said that A83 and other low-quality gasoline which has methanol or ethanol, can cause increased heat, fuel leakages and the potential for vehicle fires.

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