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Vietnam to install black boxes at gas stations   2008-12-28 - ThanhNien

The Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) will install detecting devices on retail gasoline pumps across the country after widespread fuel fraud was found at gas stations.

Inspectors check a gasoline pump at a fuel station in Hanoi

The Ministry has instructed the Center for Technological Progress to make a black box to record the volume and time of fuel sold at each pump, MoST Deputy Minister Tran Quoc Thang told a retail fuel inspecting conference in Hanoi Friday.

MoST will cooperate with the Ministry of Industry and Trade to trial the black boxes before rolling them out at all gas stations, he said.

Thang also said the ministry would recommend the government increase penalties for fuel fraud, such as breaking pump’s inspection seals, using unregistered pumps and installing devices to modify the pump gauges.

Vietnam Standards and Consumers Association Deputy Chairman Ho Tat Thang said petrol pump tamperers should face criminal charges.

“The current fines of up to VND40 million (US$2,355) are nothing compared with the billions of dong people have been defrauded,” he said.

“Some stations have asked other people to get a new license on their behalf after losing their permission to operate,” he said. “We should use criminal charges and jail sentences as a deterrent.”

Devices to alter fuel pump gauges were easy to buy and cost around VND4 million ($235) each, said Dang Nhat Kien, director of Seen Technologies Corporation, which makes gasoline pumps.

“The Ministry of Public Security should set up a unit to handle the manufacture and trade of gasoline defrauding devices,” said deputy director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Market Monitoring Management Unit Pham Quang Vien.

Experts also suggested withdrawing 83-octane gasoline, used for farm equipment, old motorbikes and boats, from the retail market.

Vien said some gas stations used 83- octane gasoline to dilute more expensive types of fuel.

During inspections of gas stations last month, 797 were found to be committing some kinds of fraud. Fines worth more than VND3.8 billion ($224,000) were issued and inspectors recommended the 100 gas stations lose their business licenses.

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