Operation PAID Update # 2
28 May 2008
Following the first and second phases of Operation PAID carried out in Wellington, Auckland, Hastings and Opotiki yesterday and this morning, further information on the actions taken is now available.
50 people have been apprehended, three have been located but have yet to be interviewed and eight are still sought;
20 vehicles have been seized and an additional 20 are still being actively sought;
69 properties have been entered by fishery officers and police;
A variety of other equipment allegedly associated with the commission of offences under the Fisheries Act 1996 has also been seized including:
- 80 kgs of paua;
- Several live fish tanks from a restaurant in Auckland; and
- A number of pieces of diving equipment.
Today in the Lower Hutt District Court Saravuthy Mao, 49, a takeaway shop owner from Lower Hutt (the alleged ring-leader of the Wellington paua poaching network targeted by Operation PAID) faced 16 serious charges under Section 233 of the Fisheries Act.
He has been remanded in custody to reappear on 12 June. Mr Mao allegedly purchased 2.5 tonnes of paua meat (6.25 tonnes greenweight paua) from an undercover special duties fishery officer for $60,615 over 17 separate transactions. This paua has a commercial retail value (if it was sold legitimately) of approximately $324,360.
Kim Core, 38, appeared in the Manukau District Court today. He faced one charge under the Fisheries Act. He has been remanded on bail to reappear on 13 June on condition that he must surrender his passport and not leave New Zealand, report to Mangare Police Station and not associate with Mr Mao or visit Wellington at any time.
One alleged offender sought by fishery officers, after hearing media coverage of Operation PAID, turned herself in at Lower Hutt Police Station yesterday afternoon wherein she was arrested by police and has since been interviewed by fishery officers.
Further to this, seven people will face charges in the Manukau District Court this Friday, 30 May (note this figure may change as legal proceedings develop).
The remainder of alleged offenders will appear in the Lower Hutt District Court on June 10, 12 and 17.
Those appearing in court are expected to face more than 300 serious charges under the Fisheries Act 1996.
All charges are carried out under Section 233 of the Fisheries Act, which carries a maximum penalty of up to five years imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000.