- Police confiscated abalone worth more than R20 million in Cape Town.
- Nine people were arrested during raids at three properties.
- Police uncovered three illegal abalone processing plants during the operations.
Nine people have been arrested in raids on an alleged Western Cape abalone smuggling ring. During the operation, police confiscated abalone worth more than R20 million.
An operation by the Hawks, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment and local police saw officers targeting three properties in Cape Town on Tuesday.
"The Hawks' Serious Organised Crime Investigation team together with the department, Crime Intelligence and SAPS K9 Overberg Cluster had a successful operation on Tuesday after they arrested nine foreign nationals for abalone smuggling with an estimated value of more than R20.2 million," said Hawks spokesperson Zinzi Hani.
Police arrested four people at an abalone processing facility in Welgemoed. The suspects, aged 24 to 27, were Chinese and Zimbabwean nationals.
"Dried abalone units with an approximate value of R6.5 million as well as abalone processing equipment were seized," said Hani.
Following the first raid, police then moved to a property in Stikland, where two more people were arrested.
"The team seized more abalone and equipment valued at more than R13 million. Kenyan and Somali nationals, aged 23 and 30, were arrested," said Hani.
The operation concluded with a raid at a Parow property, where another illegal processing facility was uncovered. Three people were arrested.
"Two Chinese nationals and a Zimbabwean national, aged 25 and 26, were arrested after more units of abalone were seized," said Hani.
The group have been charged and are due to appear in the Bellville Magistrate's Court soon.
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