The population of abalone is said to be critically low. This is so because poaching enforces the over-exploitation of abalone.
Abalone problem in South Africa is traced to local community members who are paid money or handed drugs by syndicates to illegally remove abalone from the ocean.
And this case, involving the seizure of R3million worth of abalone isn’t different. Four suspects were arrested for the crime at a farm near Bonnievale.
They include two Chinese men, aged 23 and 39, and two South African men, aged 37 and 40.
SAPS related that “on Monday 14 November, the Cape Town K9 Unit responded to a call for assistance from officials from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries after an alleged illegal abalone processing facility was uncovered in Bonnievale.
“At approximately 05:45 the members arrived at the premises on a farm near Bonnievale where police K9’s responded positively to abalone in the building. Upon entering the premises, an illegal abalone processing containing various items of equipment and abalone in the process of drying was uncovered.
“In total 15 586 units of dried abalone was seized. The value of the abalone is to be determined after it has been weighed but is estimated to the value of R3 million.”
The suspects will appear before the Robertson Magistrates Court on Wednesday on various charges under the Marine Resources Act.
In a separate incident, Hawks investigation in conjunction with the Department of Transport led to the arrest of a suspect involved in money laundering, corruption and racketeering.
As alleged, the suspect was running an illicit licensing and police clearance operation as well. When he was arrested by Hawks Anti-Corruption members, about R5.3 million cash, several ID documents and two vehicles were seized.
Commenting, Acting Head of the Hawks in the Western Cape, Brigadier Mzwandile Ndlovu said: “this is undoubtedly a telling blow to the underworld. We remain unequivocal in the fight against organized crime as it ranks very high in our mandate,” he added.