CIDG files case vs couple involved in coral smuggling

ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanews/18 June) – The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-9 (CIDG-9) has filed a  complaint against a Chinese businessman and his wife for alleged poaching of protected marine products.

In its complaint filed before the City Prosecutor’s Office on Friday,  the CIDG accused Chinese businessman Li Yu Ming alias Jo Pring and his Filipina wife Olivia Li, of violating Republic Act 8550 otherwise known as the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998.

Senior Supt. Mario Rariza, CIDG-9 chief, said the case was filed after the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) completed the inventory of the tons of corals and shells seized from   warehouse rented by the Li couple in Barangay San Roque.

The Lis have eluded arrest.

The assorted corals and shells were discovered evening of June 4 by BFAR and CIDG-9 operatives after the owner of Yuscom warehouse rented by the couple allowed in “good faith” to inspect the warehouse’s compound.

Rariza said the inventory conducted by BFAR officials showed that the recovered corals and shells packed in sacks and carton boxes weighed at least 41 tons. Of this,  27,891 kilos were black and red corals and 13,144 kilos were assorted shells–helmet, trumpet and trochus.

The recovered products are in the custody of BFAR regional office here.

BFAR officials say the seized items were part of the smuggled marine products intercepted last May in Manila port.

Rariza said the hunt for the Li couple continues as the warrant of arrest issued by the House of Senate remains in effect.

The Senate issued the warrant of arrest against the couple after they failed to attend twice the inquiry being conducted by the Senate’s Committee on Environment on the issues of smuggled corals and shells intercepted in Manila port.

The Li couple, who owns the Li and Lim Trading, was identified as owner of the smuggled corals.

Rariza said the Li couple, who is into the business of live marine products, has left the city of and has gone into hiding.

Mayor Celso Lobregat said he received an information that Li left this city last June 7 and took a connecting flight to another country. He revealed he also received information that Olivia Li may have fled the country through the southern backdoor. (MindaNews)