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2023/07/31      |  Written By:  Captain C Singo   |   Province:  Free State

FREE STATE: The accused Jinghuan Zhen (39), Randy Alfred Mapoe (38), David Mbewu (35), Thabiso Johannes Khaile (40), Marvin Fazel Kekana (44), and Clareece Genevieve (23) appeared before the Bloemfontein Magistrates' Court on Monday, 24 July 2023 where they were convicted and sentenced for possession of abalone.

Their conviction originates from an incident which took place in December 2021 when police received information about suspects who were processing abalone in Bayswater - Bloemfontein. Subsequently, a search and seizure operation was conducted on 21 December 2021 by members of the Hawks' Serious Organised Crime Investigation team, Tactical Response Team (TRT), K9 Unit, and Local Criminal Record Centre (LCRC) based in Bloemfontein. They recovered dry and wet abalone to the estimated street value of more than R10 million.

Zhen was sentenced to a fine of R100 000 of which R90 000 is suspended for five years. He will effectively pay a fine of R10 000. Mapoe, Mbewu, Khaile, Kekana, and Genevieve were sentenced to a fine of R10 000 each. All the accused are expected to pay the fines on or before Friday, 28 July 2023 or serve four years direct imprisonment.