Man jailed for lying to police after pirates hijacked oil tanker

Company director Louis Lau Xuanhong, 34, was sentenced to two weeks’ jail this week after lying to police after pirates hijacked tanker MT Joaquim, reports the Singapore Straits Times. His firm had chartered the vessel, but he did not want the authorities to know that it was carrying 2,000 tonnes of crude oil that had been purchased illegally. Louis Lau Xuanhong was also sentenced to three weeks’ jail and fined $4,000 on a separate drink-driving charge. Lau worked for Yu Tat wholesale trading company, which chartered Singapore-registered MT Joaquim.

It collected the oil from a Maltese vessel in the Strait of Malacca before the tanker was hijacked by pirates on Aug 8th 2015.

The court heard that Lau called Prosperbiz Petroleum’s bunker clerk Lim Puay Kwang, 41, asking him to lie to the Malaysian authorities and say that the pirates had hijacked MT Joaquim while it was sailing towards Langkawi to deliver cargo to a firm called Siam Gulf Petroleum.

In fact MT Joaquim was on its way to Singapore.

Concerned that Singapore’s Police Coast Guard (PCG) might also question them about the illegal purchase of the crude oil, the pair met Prosperbiz’s director Chew Hoe Soon, 55, at a Beauty World Plaza eatery on August 10th 2015, where all three agreed to lie to the police.

It was not revealed in court documents what Lau had originally intended to do with the oil, or how Singapore-registered Prosperbiz was linked to him.

Lau gave the false information to Station Inspector Ivaprakash Damohdaran at the Central Police Division the next day, while Lim and Chew lied to the PCG later that month.

All three Singaporeans retracted their false statements about three months later, the court heard, though it was not revealed why.

Chew was earlier sentenced to two weeks’ jail, while Lim was fined $3,000. The MT Joaquim was found off Pulau Rupat in Indonesian territorial waters. Lau was released on bail of $10,000 and must surrender himself at the State Courts on July 22nd to begin serving his sentence.