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Hawston, Kleinmond men caught on Robben Island

Men from Hawston and Kleinmond were among a group of suspected poachers caught on Robben Island last week.

Western Cape Police spokesperson Siyabulela Malo says the bust was made on Tuesday 19 November when police officials and members of the Department of Environmental Affairs, Forestry and Fisheries acted on information about possible poaching activities on Robben Island.

“While patrolling the surrounding waters, the members spotted a number of boats which sped off after becoming aware of the police presence. The divers were however left behind in the sea,” Malo explained.

Various police role-players searched the area with the assistance of officials of Operation Phakisa. Seventeen suspects were arrested for transgressing the Marine Living Resource Act and being in possession of prohibited gear in a listed area. “No abalone was however found in their possession,” said Malo.

Later the same day, eight more suspects were arrested after officials followed up information about more people still hiding on the island and that vessels were preparing to fetch the poachers from the island.

“The members conducted a further search of Murray’s Bay on Robben Island,” said Malo, “and arrested seven suspects found hiding between the rocks outside of the harbour wall dressed in diving gear. Eight diving kits were confiscated.”

All 24 suspects - aged between 21 and 50 - from Hermanus, Hout Bay, Kleinmond and Grassy Park appeared in the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 21 November.

The Western Cape Acting Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Sindile Mfazi, commended the officials for their commitment to protect the marine resources.

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