Businessman to be sentenced next week

A businessman, who was found guilty of operating an unlicensed fish processing plant for sea cucumbers intended for export, will be sentenced in a fortnight.

Businessman Chen Pao appeared before the Supreme Court this week.

Pao was found guilty by the District Court in 2016 after a raid by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries uncovered 400 kilograms of sea cucumber at his premises.

But he appealed his guilty verdict which was later referred to the Supreme Court for review.  

Represented by lawyer Semi Leung Wai, Pao told the Supreme Court this week that he wants to discontinue his appeal.

Supreme Court Justice, Leiataualesa Daryl Clarke granted the motion to discontinue the appeal.  

Prosecutor Ann Matalasi and defense counsel Mr. Leung Wai are to prepare sentencing submissions for Pao.

The matter has been adjourned by the Court to 17 July 2020 for sentencing.

According to the case file, on 2 February 2016, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries' fisheries division and maritime unit from the Ministry of Police did a search for sea cucumbers at the Treasure Garden Restaurant and Hotel at Fugalei and Savalalo. 

The operation followed an investigation by the division into a complaint received by the M.A.F. alleging the processing of sea cucumbers at both locations. 

The operation discovered and seized a large quantities of sea cucumbers at the two said premises. 

The seizure included 11 chilly bins and five boxes of dried sea cucumbers, a large green rubbish bin, and a bucket full that had not been fully dried. 

The chilly bins weighed a significant 431 kilograms, not including a sack and a large basin of species which the fisheries officer considered small scale in size. 

Evidence before the Court at that time showed that most sea cucumbers had been fully processed and were carefully packed and stored. 

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