Two Chinese held in South Africa for abalone smuggling: report

09:06, November 07, 2010      

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Two Chinese nationals will appear in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court next week on charges of bribery and possession of abalone, the South African Press Association (SAPA) reported on Saturday.

The two were arrested on Friday on the M2 highway near Johannesburg. The men, aged 19 and 20, were not named. They will appear before court on Monday.

South African police spokeswoman Julia Claassen said the men were pulled over at 1 p.m. near a major off-ramp as part of a new high visibility strategy by police in South Africa's Gauteng province.

When searching the car, South African police found a sports bag containing abalone to the value of 10,000 rands (1,429 U.S. dollars).

She said the men allegedly tried to bribe the South African police officers.

The pair will be charged under South Africa's Marine Living Resources Act for bribery and for being in possession of a protected species.

Abalone smuggling is a serious problem in South Africa, with some experts saying the species faces extinction on the country's shoreline.

In August 2010, investigators of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) confiscated 1.6 tons (28 764 individual animals) of abalone with an estimated value of 4 million rands (571,000 dollars).

Source: Xinhua


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