KUANTAN: His company had secured a licence to collect used cooking oil in the state capital to be reproduced into biodiesel – but driven by greed, the proprietor instead chose to store and sell cooking oil.
The ruse was exposed when a team of Pahang Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry officers ambushed the premises located at an industrial area in Mahkota Aman here, at about 4pm yesterday.
The raiding team discovered 31,000kg of cooking oil along with two units of one-tonne lorries and an oil tanker worth RM327,500.
The ministry's enforcement chief Ahmad Fitri Ali said that acting on a tip-off, the team followed the movement of tanker lorries from the premises towards the highway for about three weeks, before deciding to strike.
He said the lorries, which operated under the pretext of collecting used cooking oil, actually went around the state capital collecting processed cooking oil from licenced re-packers.
"The cooking oil was collected in square storage tanks before being transferred into the bigger tanks at the premises.
“Once the tanks were full, the tanker would collect, transport and sell the oil at the border (with Thailand) or other industries.
"Judging by the greasy oil storage tanks and dirty floors, one can assume that the premises saw active involvement of oil collection. They have a separate set of hoses and tanks to keep the clean cooking oil," he told reporters when met at the premises.
Ahmad Fitri said to avoid their activities from being tracked by the authorities, the culprits displayed the signage "We collect used cooking oil" at the rear of the one-tonne lorries.
He said the ministry will record a statement from the company owner, a man who lives outside the state, along with his four workers, aged between 30 and 50 years old.
"Our enforcement team has been monitoring the movements of the tanker lorries and we noticed that they frequented the premises to collect the controlled item, before moving towards the highway. We believe this group is part of a bigger network and will work with our counterparts in other states to track down those involved.
"The owner had initially focused on recycling cooking oil, but abused his licence by storing cooking oil. The location is quite secluded, at an industrial area, so it is ideal to carry out the illegal activities," he said, adding that the premises were not where the cooking oil was repackaged.
He said the case will be investigated under the Supply Control Act 1961 for violation of license conditions and possession of cooking oil in excessive quantities.