Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Zamboanga black coral trader hunted

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / June 8, 2011) – Authorities were searching for a local trader accused of trying to smuggle tons of black corals and stuffed turtles believed illegally sourced in the southern Philippines.

Olivia Lim Li and her husband Lee Yu Ming are being sought to answer charges against them and several other people also accused of conniving with them.

The Senate has ordered their arrest after the couple ignored a subpoena for them to appear at an investigation being conducted by the Committee on Environment.

Authorities recently intercepted a huge cargo of black corals and stuffed turtles worth over P35 million at the black market at Manila’s harbor. The contraband came from Zamboanga City.

Immigration officials were also alerted to prevent those accused from escaping out of the country and evade the criminal charges. The couple has been previously charged in 2007 and again in 2008 in Zamboanga City for allegedly transporting marine products which the Fisheries Code, but the cases have not progressed since then for a still unknown reason, according to Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, chairman of the Committee on Environment.

Li could not be contacted in Zamboanga City and her employees would not talk to journalists. But local policemen have seized over 40 tons of black corals and other marine products from her warehouse in Zamboanga. (Mindanao Examiner)

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