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Paua Poaching Ringleader Jailed

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, March 5 NZPA - The leader of black market paua poaching operation has been jailed and his partner sentenced to home detention.

The pair took paua, many undersized, from the Kaikoura coast in covert night missions and sold it to members of the Nelson Asian community.

Vietnamese national Phuoc Van Tang, 49, a sickness beneficiary, was jailed for eight months and his partner Vouch Lim, 40, a Cambodian national living unlawfully in New Zealand, was given three months' home detention, The Nelson Mail reported.

The couple were caught last year after an undercover Fisheries Ministry investigation, dubbed Operation Raro, Nelson District Court was told.

Tang and Lim made about $4000 in a six-week period by poaching hundreds of paua many of them undersized between June-August 6, 2008.

The couple and a teenager drove to Kaikoura nine times and gathered paua before returning to Nelson.

Judge Denys Barry said the offending was serious, and represented a significant blow to attempts to preserve and develop paua stocks in the area by Maori and commercial fishers.

A further nine members of the Nelson Asian community have been fined between $600 and $1800 each for buying the paua.

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