Senate orders arrest of suspected smugglers of corals, shells

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/08 June) – The Senate on Wednesday ordered the arrest of couple Olivia Li and Lee Mu Ying alias “Jo Pring,” the alleged owners of the seized tons of corals and shells at a warehouse compound in this city.

This was announced over the Chabacano TV Patrol Wednesday afternoon by Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, chair of the Senate committee on environment and natural resources.

Zubiri said the arrest order, which was signed by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, was issued after the couple failed to show up at the committee hearing.

The hearing stemmed from the confiscation of millions of pesos worth of black corals and stuffed turtles early last month at the Manila port.

The couple was implicated in the smuggling of marine products after the shipper of the cargo was identified as the Zamboanga City-based Li and Lim Trading owned by Li and Jo Pring.

Last Saturday evening, government authorities uncovered tons of corals and shells at a warehouse compound in Sitio Pasay, Barangay San Roque in this city, which were believed to be part of the smuggled marine products intercepted in Manila.

The tons of corals and shells, which were found in a vacant lot at the warehouse compound, were allegedly owned by the Li and Lim Trading.

Records at the city government showed that the couple is into the business of live marine products.

Zubiri said the couple did not show up at Wednesday’s committee hearing despite having been subpoenaed last Tuesday by the Senate sergeant-at-arms.

He said it was the second time they failed to show up at the hearing despite the invitation sent by his committee.

The couple was first summoned to the hearing last Monday. (MindaNews)