Two Chinese nationals have received jail sentences from a Cape Town court, after they were convicted of smuggling abalone and growing dagga.
Image shows a typical abalone harvested in the sea or on rocks.
The judgement was issued at Khayelitsha Priority Crimes Court on Friday.
According to the statement from Western Cape police: “Han Ran, 31, and Zhao Huirm, 35, were each sentenced to 18 months imprisonment and fined R500 000.”
Lieutenant-Colonel Andrè Traut said: “They were arrested in April, after police were tipped off about illegal activity at a smallholding on the outskirts of Langebaan. Police raided it and found an abalone processing facility.
“Various rooms were found inside the building, including a cooking area, drying rooms, a sorting room and living quarters. Numerous items of equipment used in the cooking and drying process were recovered, which included large steel cooking pots, gas burners and cylinders, scales of different sizes, fans, drying shelves, and temperature meters,” Traut said.
Dagga means marijuana in South Africa; and balone is a common name for a group of small or very big sea snails.
A report from News 24 confirms that a total of 37 936 units of dried abalone and five units of wet shucked abalone were confiscated.
On the black market, abalone sell for as much as $100 each. Poaching and selling abalone is a risky enterprise though: one poacher was earlier sentenced to three years in jail and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine.