Woodlands scrap dealer caught with railway steel

2011-11-07 00:00

CHINESE national Pheng Zhong Jie (41), who owns PPL Scrap Metals in Woodlands, pleaded guilty in the regional court on Friday to a charge of possessing suspected stolen metal goods valued at about R300 000.

The property was found on May 9 by police and Transnet investigators in containers into which it had been placed ready for resale. The items included pieces of railway tracks, rail clips, rail screws and nuts, steel sleepers, “G” clamps, rail joiners, “F2” doors, fish plates and pieces of pipe.

Regional magistrate Jennifer Anthoo handed Jie a wholly suspended sentence of five years’ imprisonment on condition that he pays R300 000 into the Criminal Assets Recovery Account in terms of a plea agreement with the state.

The money will be paid in instalments of R10 000 per month.

In his plea Jie admitted that prior to May 9 this year he allowed members of his staff to receive on his behalf pieces of scrap metal he suspected might be stolen.

According to the plea, he buys scrap metal from members of the public for recycling.

He said he was “well aware” that he had to follow the rules of the industry, in particular not to accept goods suspected of being stolen, and that he has to keep records and registers of every item bought.

Jie said of the items in question that he had a suspicion that the goods were stolen when he took accepted them and that it had been his intention to sell the goods for profit.

Jie has operated PPL Scrap Metals for about three years and has been in South Africa since 2008 on a valid work permit.

He expressed remorse for what he did.

ingrido@witness.co.za

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