Cape abalone syndicate gets suspended jail sentences
Cape Town - Six members of an abalone syndicate operating in the Western Cape have been sentenced to wholly suspended two years in prison by the Khayelitsha regional court.
In a statement, Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks) spokeswoman Zinzi Hani said an investigation had exposed the syndicate which was involved in poaching, buying and selling of illicit abalone not only in the Western Cape but also in Gauteng province in February last year.
All the suspects were arrested that month, including a Chinese buyer and processor.
On Monday the group entered into a plea in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act, which refers to a plea and sentencing agreement with the state, Hani said.
Jeremia Abrahams and Romania Curtis Hans were found guilty on a charge of the Marine Living Resource Act, while Frederick Myburgh and Angelo Charles pleaded guilty to two counts of contravening the same law. Albert Van Niekerk and Ashley Cloete pleaded guilty on three counts.
All the accused were sentenced to two years in jail, wholly suspended for five years with stringent conditions.
All the abalone and equipment seized during their arrest was forfeited to the state.
In February, alleged abalone syndicate kingpin in the Western Cape, Solomon Sauls pleaded guilty to a Prevention of Organised Crime Act charge and contravention of the Marine Living Resources Act and was sentenced to six years direct imprisonment.
African News Agency (ANA)