Suspected coral smugglers escape PH
24 Oras’ coverage yesterday, June 13
(SPOT.ph) The couple allegedly responsible for the illegal shipment of P35-million worth of black corals and other endangered marine species fled the country last week, reports 24 Oras. The couple, Olivia Lim Li and Joe Pring (also known as Jok Beng, Jo Beng Li and Li Yu Ming) are the owners of Zamboanga-based Li and Lim Trading suspected of supplying the shipment as mentioned in earlier reports.
In a GMA News report, Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Jose Balajadia Jr. said that Pring left the country on June 7 and was bound for Hong Kong. Balajadia also said in the report that Li’s whereabouts could not be determined and that there was no record of her departure, though she had supposedly booked flights for July 5, 6, and 7 with a certain group. Another GMA report, however, revealed that Li is supposedly hiding in Malaysia. The two left a day before Senate environment committee chair Juan Miguel Zubiri cited them in contempt for failing to show up in court even with a subpoena and it was too late when the Bureau of Immigration had put them on the watch list.
Exequiel Navarro, mentioned in earlier reports as the consignee of the shipment of black corals in two container vans, was also cited in contempt for failing to attend the first hearing. When he finally attended the hearing, reports GMA News, Navarro denied being involved in any illegal activity.
The charges filed by the Bureau of Customs include: violation of the Fisheries Code of the Philippines, which bans coral exploitation and exportation; violation of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, which prohibits the gathering and possessing of endangered mollusk; and violation of the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act for the shipment of contraband.
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