SOLOMONS DEPORTS EXPORTERS FOR IGNORING SEA CUCUMBER BAN

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Chinese businessmen charged with possessing beche-de-mer

By Eddie Osifelo

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, March 7, 2012) – The Solomon Islands’ Government has deported two Chinese businessmen who continued to disobey the beche-de-mer [sea cucumber] ban imposed in the country since 2009.

This came as Government moves to crack down on illegally beche-de-mer traders before lifting the ban in future.

Attorney General, Billy Titiulu said one Chinese national was first deported two weeks ago followed by another one on Monday.

He said the two Chinese were part of the six Chinese nationals caught by law enforcers previously.

"Another two Chinese nationals are currently facing the court while the other one is seeking leniency from the Minister of Commerce," he said.

"We are still trying to verify the facts surrounding the sixth Chinese because he holds a Solomon Islands passport he got from Citizenship Commission without meeting the ten years requirement. We are checking with relevant agencies before imposing any charge against him," the Attorney General said.

Mr. Titiulu said some of the Chinese nationals have been fined two to three times by Police already.

However, he said they continued to involve in the trade despite the ban being put in place.

"I have received instruction from the Government to pursue this deportation order," he said. "Government want to clean up everyone who is dirty in the industry before lifting the ban," he said.

Solomon Star understands Frank Sheng Song and Sam Xian Wei are currently facing the court for their for possession of beche-de-mer for export.

Government has imposed the ban on bech-de-mer, commonly known as sea cucumbers, after it was depleting very fast in the country due to over harvesting by locals.

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