Manager faces fresh charge in Shell oil theft

S'porean accused of conspiring with colleague to dishonestly receive oil worth over $385,000

A Singaporean who was earlier charged with abetting to receive stolen gas oil was hit with a new charge yesterday in the multimillion-dollar Shell fuel theft case.

Marketing and operations manager Ng Hock Teck, 54, allegedly conspired with his colleague, cargo officer Alan Tan Cheng Chuan, 45, to dishonestly receive 517.8 tonnes of oil worth $385,424 around Nov 5 last year.

The charge states that the oil was transferred from Pulau Bukom to the Sentek 26 vessel at Shell's manufacturing site. Ng and Tan were then employed by Sentek Marine and Trading, one of Singapore's biggest marine fuel suppliers.

Both men, who had each been charged earlier with two counts of abetting to receive stolen oil, appeared in court yesterday. But no fresh charge was filed against Tan, who was offered bail of $30,000.

Ng was remanded for another week for investigation and will be back in court next Tuesday.

There were no new charges filed too against Vietnamese ship master Doan Xuan Than, 46, who was offered bail of $20,000. He was earlier charged with dishonestly receiving stolen gas worth more than a million dollars in total.

The cases involving Tan and Than will be mentioned on Feb 20, when surveyor Muhammad Ali Muhammad Nor, 51, and Vietnamese Dang Van Hanh, 37, will also be returning to court.

Muhammad Ali has been charged with two counts of abetment by conspiracy with several Shell Eastern Petroleum employees to misappropriate $1.3 million worth of gas oil. Meanwhile, Hanh allegedly conspired with a fellow Vietnamese national to dishonestly receive $687,900 worth of stolen gas oil transferred from Pulau Bukom to Panama-registered vessel Prime South on Jan 7.

The police seized around $3.05 million in cash, as well as a 12,000-tonne tanker during an islandwide operation on Jan 7, in what is likely the biggest oil theft case in recent years. Eight other past and current Shell employees have been remanded and will be in court next Monday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 26, 2018, with the headline 'Manager faces fresh charge in Shell oil theft'. Print Edition | Subscribe