ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/13 June) – The City Prosecutor’s Office finally filed last Thursday cases against a Chinese businessman and other individuals who were allegedly involved in the illegal trade of protected marine products that has made use of this city’s port as transshipment point.
This was disclosed by Mayor Celso Lobregat based on the information he received from the City Prosecutor’s Office where some of the cases have remained pending for a number of years.
Lobregat said a case against Joe Pring and Li Yu Ming has been pending since 2007.
Another case involving Joe Pring and officials and employees of Yuscom warehouse in Barangay San Roque, this city, has been pending since 2008.
The Yuscom warehouse in San Roque is where the authorities uncovered a stockpile of some 30 to 40 tons of corals and shells on the night of June 4.
A case against a certain Vicente Li was also discovered to have been pending since 2005.
Lobregat noted that the filing of the cases came after the Senate committee on environment investigated the seizure of some P35 million worth of black corals and other marine products at the Manila port.
Zamboanga City has been pinpointed to be the origin of the items which were traced to Li and Lim Trading owned by Olivia Lim whose husband, Joe Pring, carries various aliases including Li Yu Ming, Lee Yu Ming, Li Nyuming and Jo Peng.
During the Senate investigation, it was discovered that Joe Pring has pending cases since 2007 and 2008 but these were not formally filed in court.
The reasons for the delay in the filing of the charges in Court was one of the issues tackled during the hearing Monday, June 13, by the Senate committee on environment chaired by Juan Miguel Zubiri.
After attending the first two days of the Senate hearing, Lobregat has been personally overseeing the local probe into the illegal transport of marine products.
The Senate investigation showed that Zamboanga City is being made as the transshipment point of the banned marine products which are extracted or poached in other areas of the region.
Lobregat said the city government will do its part in ensuring that the illegal trade is stopped and that those involved in it are punished.
“We mean business here and we want to make sure that there will be no haoshao in the investigation of this incident,” he said. (MindaNews)