Cape Town - An warrant of arrest will be issued for a perlemoen syndicate accused who failed to appear in the Western Cape High Court on Friday.
Yu-Chen Chao was to have appeared before Judge Robert Henney for a pre-trial conference.
Prosecutor Helene Booysen said the investigating officer had tried contacting him telephonically, but there was no answer.
Henney said he would issue a warrant of arrest later in the day. Yu-Chen's bail of R100,000 was also provisionally forfeited to the State.
He and 18 others are accused of perlemoen smuggling and face charges including racketeering and fraud.
One of the accused, 50-year-old Yen-Chang Ku, a Chinese national, is sought by Interpol. The matter resumes on March 22.