Home > News > World
Wednesday July 9, 2014 MYT 12:40:04 AM
Wednesday July 9, 2014 MYT 12:41:26 AM
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African police arrested a Chinese national and three Mozambicans on Tuesday in a raid on an illegal abalone-drying facility that yielded nearly five tonnes of the gourmet mollusc known as "white gold" in Asia.
Police and fisheries officers discovered more than 50,000 shellfish in the raid in Benoni, a town east of Johannesburg, one of the biggest ever inland confiscations, officials said.
The four suspects would appear in court on Wednesday.
Destined for trendy restaurants in Hong Kong and China, abalone - dubbed "white gold" after its pearly flesh - can fetch up to 4,500 rand ($420) a kilogramme on the South African black market, and nearly three times that in Asia, experts say.
Caught all along South Africa's extensive coastline, "perlemoen" as it is called locally, is sold for cash or exchanged for methamphetamines, helping fuel the already serious drug problem in Africa's most sophisticated economy.
Illegal harvesting is also driving the species to the brink of extinction in the region.
The seized abalone would be impounded by authorities before being processed and auctioned off to raise money for government efforts to combat wildlife poaching and smuggling, officials said.
(Reporting by Ed Cropley; Editing by Pascal Fletcher)
South African police arrest five for botched circumcision deaths
Man pleads guilty in S.African abalone syndicate case
South African police investigating Mandela grandson in grave dispute
South African police arrest fifth suspect in toddler murders
South African police arrest suspected "mastermind" Congo rebel
Ukraine to spend five percent of 2015 budget on defence and security
Cuba says U.S. must respect its communist system
North Korea proposes joint probe with the U.S. into Sony cyber attack - KCNA
Egypt receives 10 Apache helicopters from U.S. - sources
Ladies, time to stand up and fight for your man
Looking out for your ears
Christmas Couples to profess their love for each other in mass public gathering
Africa – surfing capital of the world
Bebo is back as a messaging app
Copyright © 1995-2014 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)