CAPE TOWN - Three suspects are expected to appear in the Plettenberg Bay Magistrate’s Court on Friday after they were found in possession of abalone with an estimated value of R700 000.
According to Western Cape police spokesperson, Sergeant Christopher Spies, a combined operation by members of the police’s Sea Border Unit, Rural Flying Squad, South African National Parks, Bitou Municipal Law Enforcement and a local security company was conducted on Wednesday at 9pm after information about illicit activities were received.
The operation was conducted in the bushes near The Crags.
“This effort led to the discovery of three men with a large quantity of abalone in their possession. Two of them fled the scene on foot, but their freedom was short-lived when the team caught up with them.
“The police arrested the suspects and confiscated 2973 units of abalone as well as various diving equipment.
“All three suspects, aged 25, 32 and 36, remain in police custody. The trio is expected to appear in the Plettenberg Bay Magistrates’ court on Friday, January 7, 2021.
“They are facing charges of illegal possession of abalone,” Spies said.
He said the confiscated abalone was handed over to inspectors from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for safekeeping and disposal.
Provincial Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Thembisile Patekile welcomed the arrests of the suspects and lauded the team of officers.
“This endeavour is part of our integrated approach when we embark on various Safer Festive Season operations. The protection of our living marine resources is of utmost importance in this province, especially to the economy. These interventions will continue as part of our concerted efforts to bring the unlawful harvesting and trafficking of our marine resources along the coast to a halt,” Patekile said.