In­ter­pol still search­ing for al­leged abalone poach­ers

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - FA­TIMA SCHROEDER

THEY ARE ac­cused of op­er­at­ing an abalone-poach­ing syn­di­cate as far back as 2002, but are far from be­ing tried in con­nec­tion with the charges.

In­ter­pol are still search­ing for Yu- Chen Chao, who al­legedly headed the syn­di­cate, and Yen-Chang Ku, one of its man­agers. Both are at large, and State ad­vo­cate He­lene Booy­sen told the Western Cape High Court this week that in­ter­na­tional war­rants of ar­rest had been is­sued.

Chao has been miss­ing since Fe­bru­ary, when the high court per­mit­ted him to travel home for Chi­nese New Year.

The court had told him to pro­vide the in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer with the ad­dress of where he in­tended to stay in China, but he failed to do so and never re­turned to face the charges.

Mem­bers of the al­leged syn- di­cate ap­peared in the High Court on Thurs­day for a pre­trial con­fer­ence. The case was post­poned for another pre-trial con­fer­ence on Fe­bru­ary 28.

The al­leged syn­di­cate op­er­ated from 2002 to 2006, us­ing legally reg­is­tered en­ti­ties as a front for the il­le­gal trade in abalone, un­der the pre­text of ex­port­ing pilchards.

The abalone was al­legedly ear­marked for ex­port to Hong Kong.

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