Men convicted for participating in perlemoen enterprise

2017-09-05 21:36
(Supplied: SAPS)

(Supplied: SAPS)

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Cape Town – The Western Cape High Court on Tuesday convicted a group of men for their role in an enterprise that illegally exported perlemoen (abalone) to Hong Kong by pretending the containers were filled with frozen pilchards.

Phillip James Miller, Willem Jacobus van Rensburg, Adriaan Gavin Wildschutt and Tony Peter du Toit were all found to have participated in the enterprise’s affairs through a pattern of racketeering.

This was in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

Some of the men were also convicted for contraventions of the Marine Living Resources Act.

The remaining accused - Rodney Onkruid, Stanley Sifiso Dlamini, Desmond David Pienaar and Gregory Abrahams – were acquitted.

The group initially faced 116 counts. None of the fraud charges stuck.

The men were arrested in 2006.

A police operation uncovered batches of perlemoen at several fish processing plants and storage units across the Western Cape.

Wanted by Interpol

These finds included around 82 700 units of perlemoen at a cold storage unit in the Port of Cape Town and around 24 600 units of dried perlemoen on a farm in Rawsonville.

Some of those who were arrested entered a plea agreement in 2006. The remaining accused went on trial in 2008.

The State alleged that the criminal enterprise comprised three central figures: Yu-Chen Chao, Miller and Salvin James Africa.

Africa became a Section 204 witness and testified for the State.

Chao last appeared in court in 2013, where he was given permission to travel to China, but he never returned.

He is wanted by Interpol, along with another co-accused Yen-Chang Ku. Ku apparently left the country at the end of 2008.

According to the State, the companies "Rapitrade 109 PTY LTD" and "Syroun Exports PTY LTD" were created in order to facilitate the exports.

On Tuesday, the State had no objection to the court extending the bail of those who were convicted but asked that all passports be handed in and no one be allowed to travel.

Judge Patrick Gamble postponed the matter until October 23 for sentencing arguments.

Read more on:    cape town  |  courts

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