Four Chinese nationals appear after R24m worth of abalone seized in three days
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Cape Town – Five suspected poachers have appeared in the Gqeberha Magistrate’s Court after they were allegedly found in possession of abalone, which led to the subsequent discovery of a huge storage and processing facility.
The accused – of which four are Chinese nationals – will appear in court again on August 10 for a bail application.
Hawks spokesperson Capt Yolisa Mgolodela said the first suspect was arrested last Wednesday in the Kinkelbos area, about 50km outside Gqeberha, after law enforcement agencies recovered a vehicle containing abalone. This was subsequently linked to the seizure of abalone two weeks ago in the Kensington area.
Further investigation led police to a number of addresses in the Walmer policing area in Gqeberha, where two bags of abalone were seized. The officers also discovered a huge abalone storage and processing facility.
Three vehicles — a VW Caddy, Toyota Avanza and an Audi — were also confiscated.
Dark Water Ops assisted the Hawks, SAPS K-9 unit and the Department of Environmental, Forestry and Fisheries with the sting operation after the arrest in Kinkelbos.
At the end of a 72-hour shift, just short of R24 million worth of abalone was confiscated, Dark Water Ops said in social media post.