Two men caught with abalone appear in court

African News Agency (ANA)

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Two men who were arrested last week for the illegal possession of shucked abalone, hidden in two false compartments on the back of a bakkie, appeared in court

Two men who were arrested last week for the illegal possession of shucked abalone, hidden in two false compartments on the back of a bakkie, appeared in court on Monday.

Marshall Oosthuizen, 32, and Denowen Alexander, 20, appeared in the Somerset West District Court, before magistrate Monde Mfeya.

It was their first court appearance since their arrest last week, and at the request of prosecutor Jenine Daman, the magistrate ordered that they remain in custody until July 27, for “bail information”.

The period that they remain in custody will enable the State to probe their backgrounds, and establish whether they have criminal records, any pending criminal cases against them, or any outstanding warrants of arrest that have not yet been executed.

The information so gleaned will enable the prosecutor to decide whether to oppose any bail application that they might launch.

A report on the SAPS Facebook page said the two men were intercepted on the N2, whilst heading towards Cape Town in their Opel 1.4 bakkie.

According to the report, police attached to the Cape Town K9 Unit became suspicious of the bakkie, with tinted windows, whilst doing patrols.

The report said the interior of the bakkie was searched, but police found nothing – until they lifted a rubber mat on the back of the bakkie and noticed screws in the floor boards.

Police removed the screws, and uncovered two false compartments containing plastic bags of shucked abalone.

The report said that Oosthuizen, the driver, was arrested, as well as Alexander, his passenger. Both were detained at the Macassar police station, where the police counted 840 units of shucked abalone.

The men have been charged with the illegal possession of abalone, in terms of the Marine Resources Act. Oosthuizen was allegedly driving without a license, and is likely to be charged for this as well.

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