PLETTENBERG BAY NEWS - Residents of the Garden Route have hailed the arrest of "the abalone poaching thugs" following a high-speed chase between Plettenberg Bay and Knysna last week. Luckily justice won the day and and the Plettenberg Bay police confiscated almost R50 000 worth of abalone and arrested three suspects.
Southern Cape police spokesman Sergeant Chris Spies said the Plettenberg Bay Crime Prevention Unit received a tip-off about a Ford Focus with a CY registration that was transporting a consignment of abalone towards Cape Town.
Early on Friday morning officers spotted the vehicle near the turn-off to Kwanokuthula on the outskirts of Plettenberg Bay.
"The vehicle sped off in the direction of Knysna [on the N2] and a chase ensued," Spies said. The vehicle was brought to a halt just outside Knysna at about 08:30.
The officers found seven large plastic bags containing abalone. The abalone and vehicle were confiscated and the three occupants of the vehicle - aged 31 to 34 - were arrested.
Spies said the abalone was estimated to be worth R46 000.
"The protection of our living marine resources is of utmost importance, especially to our economy. Western Cape police management has commended the police members for their vigilance in pursuing the suspects and their ultimate arrest."
The suspects, Sonwabile Gusha (34), Melikaya Hans (32) and Alex Mutema (31), appeared in the Plettenberg Bay Magistrate's Court on Monday 8 February.
The matter was postponed to Friday 12 February for a formal bail application. The three remain in custody.
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