CAPE TOWN, Fourteen people netted in an abalone and shark fin bust by the South African police last week have appeared in the Cape Magistrates Court.
The group was arrested in Milnerton here in what police say was a crime intelligence-driven operation. Abalone busts by the authorities are an attempt to clamp down on illegal fishing and there have been a significant number of arrests in recent months.
On Monday, the 14 suspects made a brief court appearance. Leon Van Der Merwe, the defence lawyer in this case said: The matter was postponed till Friday for us to make representations to the senior public prosecutor on the matter.
Police said they have also arrested a number of suspects in separate raids.
South African Police Service (SAPS) Captain Frederick Van Wyk said: “Information gathered by Crime Intelligence led to the arrest of 14 suspects on Thursday night in Milnerton for the illegal possession of abalone and shark fins with an estimated street value of 5.5 million Rand (about 424,000 US dollars), while cash to the tune of 50,000 Rand and a light delivery vehicle was also confiscated.
In February, an operation at a cold storage facility on Paarden Island here yielded 8.0 million Rand worth of abalone, a marine delicacy. Investigations led to a container at Table Bay Harbour where 30 million Rand worth of the mollusc were found packed and ready for export.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK