Johannesburg - Four foreign nationals were arrested on Tuesday after a raid on an illegal perlemoen drying plant in Benoni on the East Rand, said the Hawks.

Equipment worth over R8 million used to dry perlemoen, also known as abalone, was confiscated, said Hawks spokesman Captain Paul Ramaloko.

“The team pounced on a property in Rynfield following intensive investigation and found the four suspects in the process of cooking and drying abalone,” said Ramaloko.

Gauteng police said more than 50 000 perlemoen units were recovered during the raid.

The suspects, a Chinese, Malawian and two Mozambican nationals, were charged with dealing in abalone.

They were expected to appear in the Benoni Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.

Sapa