king-pin faces deportation
A JOINT operation by police and immigration officers has resulted in the arrest of one of the ringleader’s of the illegal bech-de mer network in the country.
This paper was informed by sources within the police that high profile Asian businessman and owner of Haizhen Trading; Zhang Tong Zi has been arrested and served with a deportation order on Monday.
This is for continuously breaching the laws of the country.
The arrest came less than a week after Minister of Commerce and Employment Elijah Doromoala has issued a warning to foreign investors to abide and comply with the country’s laws.
The Solomon Star understands a deportation order has already been issued by the minister on Monday for Zhang to be deported.
However, sources within the police said he has appealed his deportation in the High Court in which he was given 14 days.
Officers who took part in the operation confirmed that Mr Zhang was arrested on Monday afternoon in Honiara and is currently being remanded in custody.
The officers said Mr Zhang has been under the police and Immigration radar for quite some time now for his involvement in the beche-de-mer saga which dated back to 2010.
“Mr Zhang will be in custody for the next fourteen days pending if an appeal be heard by the High Court is successful.
“If his appeal fails to go through then the minister’s warning was clear; Mr Zhang has to be deported,” the police and Immigration spokesperson said.
Mr Zhang has been suspected of involving in the illegal bech-de-mer trade in the country after the Ministry of Fisheries confiscated 160 bags of beche-de-mer worth $4 million in his possession in December 18 2010.
However, there was no substantial evidence until Monday this week when Minister Doromoala ordered his deportation.
Although the Asian businessman deliberately breached the Fisheries Regulations Act 2009, Section 59 13A which prohibited the selling, harvesting or catching of beche-de-mer and also fined twice for the same offence April 2009, Mr Zhang had allegedly walked free for the past few years.
He was the Asian businessman who came to limelight after he was accused of involving with certain politicians in 2010 in the illegal bech-de-mer trade.
At one stage, he was arrested by Naha police but his case was allegedly meddled with which resulted in the case went missing from police files.
Meanwhile, police sources told the Solomon Star yesterday that they would continue to crack down the bech-de-mer network.
This paper was informed it is likely names of top government ministers are likely to emerge as investigation continues.
By DOUGLAS MARAU & JEREMY INIFIRI
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