Black market seafood charges admitted

January 29, 2016 | By More

Court House from Victoria Sq-101The owner of the Oriental Warehouse in Cashel Street has been fined $12,500 for buying black market crayfish and failing to record where she had bought paua and crayfish.

Poh Cheng Sim, 59, admitted four charges of purchasing black-market rock lobster – known as crayfish – and one charge of failing to keep a record of where rock lobster and paua was purchased from, in the Christchurch District Court today.

Sim said she made no profit from the fish, but did it as a favour to friends.

Defence counsel Rupert Glover said Sim led a scrupulously honest life, but was caught by an undercover person.

The official charge is that Sim was a party to, and aided the obtaining of a benefit by, knowingly possessing, procuring or receiving the spiny rock lobster through December 2013, and February and March 2014.

Sim and her co-offenders were caught by an undercover person in an operation by the Ministry of Primary Industries.

It is estimated Sim paid $2050 for 118 rock lobster and 10kg paua worth a total of more than $7000.

Judge Raoul Neave said the offending arose from Sim purchasing seafood other than through the appropriate channels.

New Zealand had a careful fishing regime to protect our fish stock, he said, and sentenced Sim to a fine of $12,500.

One of her co-offenders, 49-year-old Jianwen Li, a joint owner of Southern Asian Restaurant in Colombo Street, was sentenced last September with a fine of $18,000 and 150 hours community work. He also had to forfeit his vehicle, his mobile phone, lobsters and pauas seized, a freezer, and electronic scales.


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