Abalone poaching syndicate arrested

Abalone poaching syndicate arrested
Abalone poaching syndicate arrested. Image source: SAPS

The Serious Organized Crime Investigation team in George, arrested seven suspects between the ages of 45 and 65 including a company that was used as an instrumentality.

They were arrested during a takedown operation with a series of tracing operation across Western Cape on 10 June 2024.

Warrant of arrests were executed by the multi-disciplinary team led by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation team (Hawks) in the Western Cape, supported by the Public Order Police and Anti-Gang Unit attached to the Overberg District.

The seven suspects were arrested in the Cape Peninsula, Overberg and Hassequa areas. The criminal grouping was mainly operating in the Western Cape and Gauteng Provinces.

All seven suspects including the company will be facing charges of the transportation, illegal storage of abalone, operating an illegal fish processing establishment and for the illegal exporting of abalone.

Furthermore, the suspects will also be charged in terms of the Prevention of Organized Crime Act for money laundering and for managing the affairs of a criminal enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity.

On 19 May 2024, information was received on the whereabouts of the eighth suspect who is residing outside of the Western Cape.

Immediately, the suspect was traced and arrested at his residence, in Britz in the North West.

The accused, Jianxian Wu was then transported to George to make his first appearance at the George Regional Court on 21 May 2024.

Wu remains in custody pending a formal bail application to appear on 11 June 2024 and to join his co-accused on this matter.

This result in a total number of nine suspects arrested in the matter.

Since the inception of this investigation in 2016 a total of 25.3 TONS of abalone were seized from the suspects to the estimated value of over R37 million.

As a result of this investigation a total of 12 cases were registered with a combined total of 77 charges.

The operation resulted in the successful arrest of all eight suspects including the company who will appear in the George Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, 11 June 2024.

The ninth suspect, Wu, who was previously arrested will appear alongside his co- accused.

SAPS Newsroom