Abalone smugglers bust

Police tightened the net on abalone smugglers on Thursday February 2, seizing R9 million worth of the widely poached mollusc and arresting four foreign nationals.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant André Traut said an investigation had led officers to a warehouse in Senna Park, Killarney Gardens, where they detained two Chinese nationals, aged 31 and 48, for being in possession of 27 182 dry and 1 551 wet, shucked abalone with a street value of about R6 million.

Various scales, crates and containers, cardboard boxes and also a forklift were also found on the premises.

From there, police pounced on a warehouse in Esso Street, Montague Gardens, where they uncovered another illegal abalone facility. Numerous crates and 12 266 units of abalone with a value of R3 million were found in a refrigeration room. Two Malawian men, aged 26 and 33, were arrested.

The suspects made a court appearance in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Monday February 6 on charges relating to the Living Marine Resources Act, including the illegal possession of abalone.