A Chinese national and a South African businessman were released on bail of R100 000 each after they were busted in connection with two separate perly busts to the value of R14 million.
Boksburg businessman Akthar Naeem Cassim, 54, and Ernest Chen, 31, were nabbed last Friday after investigations into a large abalone bust near Beaufort West led cops to a business in Boksburg, outside Johannesburg.
Hawks spokesperson Captain Lloyd Ramovha says the joint operation between the Hawks, SAPS and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries kicked off Thursday when a 16-ton Scania truck was pulled off near Beaufort West in the Southern Cape.
“The resultant search uncovered seven pallets of dried abalone. Preliminary investigations linked the ownership of the truck to a business based in Boksburg,” states Ramovha.
A total of 67 354 dried perly weighing 2 462kg was confiscated. At the business, investigators discovered a further 12 579 perlemoen in a shipping
“Two suspects, Chinese and South African nationals, believed to be heading a transnational abalone smuggling ring were subsequently arrested,” says Ramovha.
The duo appeared in the Boksburg Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday on charges relating to the contravention of the Marine Living Resources Act and were released on bail of R100 000 each.
The case was postponed to November 28 for further investigation.