Father-and-son smugglers jailed for 23 years over R20m abalone haul
Aron Hyman | 2017-05-31 16:24:11.0
Image by: Gallo Images/Thinkstock
A father and his son were each sentenced to 23 years in prison for smuggling abalone in what is considered to be a record sentence for this type of crime.
George Kruger‚ 63‚ and his son Sean‚ whose operation was based in Vredenburg and Table View on the Cape west coast‚ were found guilty of racketeering‚ smuggling‚ money laundering and fraud for attempting to smuggle abalone worth R20-million to Hong Kong.
The sentence was handed down on Tuesday in the Khayelitsha Priority Crimes Court in Cape Town.
Two other men were sentenced to 18 and 10 years respectively for their roles in the syndicate‚ while three Chinese men are already serving three-year sentences after entering into plea bargains with the state.
The men were the owners of a fresh produce company set up to smuggle abalone to Asia.
More than seven tons of South African abalone would have made it to Hong Kong in 2010 had the shipping company not received a phone call from one of the Hawks’ crack abalone sleuths ordering three containers to be returned to South Africa.
One container evaded detectives but two others‚ filled with abalone hidden in crates of plastic beads‚ were shipped back to Cape Town.
Hawks spokesman Captain Lloyd Ramovha said the sentencing was a boost to their “endeavours to get rid of syndicates that continue to plunder the country’s precious living marine resources”.
“We welcome the sentences and hope they will deter those who might have considered dealing in abalone to think twice‚” said Ramovha.