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Cape Town -
Twenty-two men have been arrested and nearly 3000 units of perlemoen seized in the Western Cape in the past two days, the agriculture department said on Friday.
Eight men were arrested on Friday morning when they were caught diving for perlemoen at Robben Island, the department said in a statement.
A team of department officials shot the engines of the poachers' rubber dinghy after they rammed their boat.
Four divers were arrested and another four surrendered on the island.
The eight-metre dinghy was confiscated, and 416 perlemoen were seized.
“Apart from marine-related charges that will be laid against the men, it was also decided that due to the violent nature of the actions of the poachers, a case of attempted murder will also be laid against them,” the department said.
They would appear in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on Monday.
On Thursday, department officers caught three men diving for perlemoen in Gansbaai. Sixteen others ran away. Diving gear, a global positioning system device and 377 perlemoen were confiscated.
At 8.15pm on Thursday, the same team chased a silver Nissan Maxima. The driver and a passenger abandoned the car. The team found 1761 units of perlemoen inside.
“Moments later on the same road, our officials also stopped a Nissan Hardbody double-cab and arrested the driver and 10 other passengers.”
A total of 343 units of perlemoen were confiscated.
The people arrested would appear in courts in Cape Town and Hermanus on Monday. - Sapa