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China publishes new directive to curb oil and gas theft, facility sabotage

Updated: Oct 16,2018 4:59 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — A new directive has been issued to crack down harder on the theft of oil and gas and sabotage of facilities, said a source of the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) on Oct 16.

The document, jointly issued by the SPC, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate and the Ministry of Public Security (MPS), aims to clarify the application of criminal law to such offenses, the SPC source said in a press release.

Those who cut open, smash or dismantle oil and gas pipes, or drill holes into them with the intention of stealing oil and gas, will be considered compromising public security.

Those who enable or encourage others to commit these offenses will also be considered prime culprits, while low-ranking employees of oil and gas firms who help criminals approach such facilities will be deemed accomplices.

The MPS said in a statement in July that oil and gas thieves were mostly subject to administrative fines rather than criminal penalties, which served little deterrence.

An increasing number of oil and gas thefts have been committed by cross-regional, well-organized underground syndicates, the ministry said.

In April, police in northeast China’s Liaoning Province busted seven oil theft groups and 15 illegal refineries, and detained 99 suspects who were involved in oil theft, illegal refining and distribution in two northeastern provinces.