Hawks net suspected abalone syndicate

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pretoria - The Hawks have arrested 19 suspects, including three SAPS members, believed to part of a syndicate involved in abalone related crime

Working with the Marine and Coastal Management in the Western Cape, the Hawks made the arrests as part of an operation called Project Black Leaves, which was conducted in Beaufort West, Stanford and Gans Bay.

"The suspects have been arrested on charges of racketeering, corruption, money laundering and abalone related crimes. Abalone is the basis for all the allegations against the suspects. The suspects include three members of the South African Police Service," SAPS said.

The investigation revealed that the suspected syndicate has been active since July 1998 and has allegedly been operating in the Western Cape, Gauteng, Northern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

The suspects will appear in court on Thursday.

More arrests, including that of a current and former SAPS employee, as well as a Chinese national, are expected soon.