An operation by the Hawks and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) has led to the seizure of 1.6 tonnes of abalone valued at R2.37 million.
In a statement on Friday, the revenue service said the sting operation at the port of Durban was initiated after the Hawks had seized illegally harvested abalone from a container in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape earlier this month.
“Based on the intelligence from the Port Elizabeth bust, a ship travelling to Sri Lanka was ordered to return to South Africa and arrived in Durban earlier this week. A suspicious container was removed from the ship and inspected after two SARS Customs sniffer dogs indicated the possible concealment of endangered species products in the container.”
The container was found to have 156 boxes of frozen abalone hidden amongst other items.
The frozen boxes of abalone were handed over to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and the Hawks for further investigation.