Abalone tycoon ordered to forfeit assets to the state
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Cape Town - A convicted abalone tycoon has been ordered to forfeit his assets to the state by the Khayelitsha Regional Court.
In a statement released on Thursday, provincial spokesperson for the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) in the Western Cape, Zinzi Hani, said Bill Ho, 52, also known as Wong, a Chinese national, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to multiple charges linking him to operating a clandestine abalone facility.
Hani said Ho was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment on two counts of contravening the Marine Living Resources Act 18 of 1998.
He also received a five-year sentence for contravening the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA).
Both sentences were wholly suspended for five years, with stringent conditions.
Ho has also been placed under two-year correctional supervision in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act.
Additionally, the court has ordered Ho to pay R32 980 into the Criminal Asset Recovery Account (CARA), and that all abalone and equipment that were seized during the search-and-seizure operation be forfeited to the state.
Hani said three vehicles owned by Ho had been seized and signed off and were ready for the pending forfeiture order from the Western Cape High Court.
Ho was arrested on February 13, 2020, by a multidisciplinary team that included the Western Cape Hawks Serious Organised Crime Investigation, Gauteng K9 Unit and Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) officials from the Western Cape.
“He was arrested during a search-and-seizure operation that exposed a syndicate involved in the poaching, buying and selling of illicit abalone in both the Gauteng and Western Cape provinces,” Hani said.
In February, Ho’s co-accused, Solomon Sauls, the kingpin of the group in the Western Cape, pleaded guilty to charges including contravention of the POCA and the Marine Living Resources Act.
Sauls was sentenced to six years’ direct imprisonment.
African News Agency (ANA)