FIRST IMPRISONMENT UNDER FISHERIES ACT 1996
10 June 2002
The first person to be imprisoned under the Fisheries Act 1996 was sentenced in the Christchurch District Court today.
Boon Lim Chin, a self-employed 35 year old man of Christchurch, was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, banned from fishing for three years and had property, including three vehicles, forfeit to the Crown.
Chin had earlier pleaded guilty to an indictable charge of knowingly engaging in commercial activity in contravention of section 233 (1) (b) of the Fisheries Act 1996.
He was charged as a result of the Ministry of Fisheries surveillance operations, Operation Black Ice, which was carried out at the same time as Operation Pacman.
From early August 2001 until 31 March 2002 the Ministry of Fisheries (MFish) carried out a confidential undercover operation which involved the deployment of two full-time special duty Fisheries Officers, code named "Operation Pacman".
At the same time MFish's Christchurch office conducted an operation code named "Black Ice" which investigated two Christchurch-based groups of individuals involved in the purchase and exportation of large quantities of black market paua through Christchurch Airport and Auckland International Airport to Hong Kong.
Chin had admitted responsibility for buying and selling black market paua in six separate incidents involving a total of 1026 kilograms of paua.
Paua is typically bought by legitimate retailers for approximately $90.00 per kg (ex GST) so 1026 kgs of paua would therefore have a commercial value of approximately $92,340.00.
By the end of the two day Operation Pacman "termination" phase, from 12-14 March 2002, 141 Fisheries Officers working together had apprehended 85 people, seized more than 30 vehicles, nine vessels, including three commercial fishing boats and various other equipment, and a tonne of paua and 1500 (individual) rock lobster.
For further information please contact
John Robinson, Fisheries Investigator, Christchurch
Telephone 025 351 244