Port Elizabeth police arrested three men and recovered perlemoen worth more than R700,000 on Sunday.
Members of the Flying Squad and K9 unit, along with a team from private security company Darkwater Ops, launched a joint operation in the early hours of Sunday morning that resulted in the arrests.
According to police spokesperson Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg, officers received information about possible perlemoen poachers diving in the Cape Recife area.
“The team allegedly noticed abalone being loaded into a white Opel Corsa, and just after 6am they followed the vehicle. Attempts were made to stop the vehicle, but the driver sped off down Beach Road, Summerstrand.”
She said the two passengers were seen throwing two bags out of the moving vehicle. The officers managed to block the road, forcing the suspects to stop.
Upon searching the vehicle, six bags filled with perlemoen were found. The two bags allegedly thrown out of the vehicle during the chase were recovered and also contained perlemoen.
A total of 1,952 units of perlemoen, with an estimated value of R720,000, were recovered. The vehicle was also confiscated.
The driver, along with his passengers, were arrested for contravening the Marine Living Resources Act — illegal possession of perlemoen.
They are expected to appear in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on Monday.