Zamboanga City (June 19 2011) — Formal charges have been filed against a Chinese businessman and his Filipina wife who are both accused of poaching and large-scale smuggling of prohibited marine products.
Back in June 4 combined operatives of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Region 9 (CIDG-9) recovered 41 tons and 27,891 kilos of black and red corals and 13,144 kilos of assorted shells such as helmet, trumpet and trochus from the Yuscom warehouse in Barangay San Roque this city
The seized corals and shells that appeared ready for shipment were traced to Li Yu Ming alias “Jo Pring” and his wife Olivia Lim-Li, owners of Li and Lim Trading, who rent the said warehouse.
The CIDG-9 filed the case over the weekend after BFAR, the lead investigating agency, completed its inventory of the presumably poached merchandise.
Senior Superintendent Mario Rariza, CIDG-9 chief, said charges filed against the couple were for violation of Republic Act 8550 or the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998.
According to reports, black coral smuggling is rampant in Zamboanga.
Aside from the Philippines, black corals poaching is also a problem in countries that are trying to protect their fragile coral reef ecosystems, like Mexico and Belize in the Caribbean.
Corals, especially black coral, make for stunning jewelries and are widely in demand. The resulting environmental damage due to corals poaching is considered a cost of fashion. (from philstar.com)