Latest Stories

What Went Before: Smuggling of black corals, seashells, sea turtles

black coral AFP FILE PHOTO

On May 1, 2011, customs officials in Metro Manila blocked an attempt to smuggle out of the country P35 million worth of black corals, seashells and sea turtles.

An inventory showed that 163 stuffed hawkbills and green turtles; 21,169 pieces of black corals; 7,340 pieces of Trumpet and Helmet shells; and 196 kg of sea whips—all threatened species that cannot be collected or traded were loaded into two container vans that were declared to be filled with rubber.

Coral expert Gary Williams of the California Academy of Sciences estimated that the area damaged due to the harvesting of the black corals could reach up to 190.8 square kilometers.

Exequiel Navarro was identified as the consignee of the shipment which left Cotabato province on April 29, 2011, while the alleged shipper of the contraband was Zamboanga-based Li and Lim Trading owned by Olivia Lim Li. Both Navarro and Li were charged on June 3, 2011, with illegally harvesting black corals and endangered marine species and were placed on the immigration watch list.

Accused flee

Li’s husband, Joe Pring, also known as Joe Ping, a Taiwanese, had been charged in 2007 after authorities found and seized endangered marine species from a warehouse operated by Uan Huat Trading which he owns.

The Li couple could not be found since they were charged and placed on the immigration watch list.

In a Senate hearing on June 13, 2011, Senate Sergeant at Arms Jose Balajadia told the Senate environment committee investigating the smuggling case that the Li couple had taken a Cebu Pacific flight from Zamboanga City to Manila and a Cebu Pacific connecting flight to Hong Kong on June 7.

Agents under Balajadia and policemen served the arrest warrants on the Li couple at their residences in Zamboanga City on June 10, but they failed to locate them.

Then Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez said the illegal trade in black corals “is being fueled by the demand of the multibillion-dollar marine ornamental industry for exotic decorative species and the increasing popularity of coral-accented jewelry and fashion accessories.”

The law prohibits any person or corporation to gather, possess, sell or export ordinary, precious and semiprecious corals whether in raw or in processed form. The penalty ranges from six months to two years and a fine of as much as P500,000.

Also charged in the complaint filed in the Department of Justice were Kim L. Atillano, owner of the Zamboanga-based JKA Transport System, the cargo forwarding company tapped by the shipper; Ireneo Penuliar and unidentified employees of the Manila branch of JKA Transport System; and the officers/owners of Vicky’s Trucking, the company which transported the misdeclared cargo from the shipper’s warehouse to the Port of Zamboanga. Ana Roa, Inquirer Research

Source: Inquirer Archives

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Black corals , environment , sea turtles , seashells , Smuggling

  • Boypickup555

    Dapat meron batas na Death for destroying our natural resources. KAILAN PA pag walang nang sisirain ??????

  • Selatan

    All those activities were happening under the big noses of Celso Lobregat and other local and
    national authorities.

  • varmint

    Black coral ! Not ‘Black Corals’. No ‘s’ on the end. No such thing as ‘black corals’. Learn how to correctly write English, or use a spell checker to avoid using improper English. ! 

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WWZMSQ4Z74QJUPXFOMEKD6KKFM kronos

      Varmint—corals is accepted–in plural form or collectively. 

  • txtman

    Hindi papansinin yang issue na yan ni PNOY ng masyado kasi hindi naman tatatas ang ratings nya. Pitiful!

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  2. Cagayan mayor shot dead after flag-raising ceremony
  3. Obama, family cause a small stir at Easter service
  4. Santiago sees Palace hand in Gigi’s return
  5. ‘Malang’ next crocodile attraction after ‘Lolong’
  6. Gigi Reyes’ only option: tell all
  7. Malaysia Airlines jet turns back after tire burst
  8. Ancient enigmatic carvings in danger of disappearing
  9. New plant to boost supply of clean energy
  10. More bodies from ship; transcript reveals wavering
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  5. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  6. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  7. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  8. Massive infra spending set
  9. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  10. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  9. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia


  • 22 houses destroyed, 3 hurt as violent wind storm hits village
  • 242 out of 438 pass board tests for chemical engineers
  • Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  • 5 OFWs from Negros quarantined for MERS-CoV tests
  • Release of village chief’s truck caught carrying illegal logs slammed
  • Sports

  • Alaska takes quarterfinals opener over San Mig Coffee
  • Jackson finds second wind to push Meralco past Rain or Shine
  • NLEX fights off Derulo Accelero to remain unbeaten
  • Mayweather diehard Bieber eats pride, poses with Pacquiao for photo op
  • Power Pinays rip Singapore to enter quarters in Asian volley tilt
  • Lifestyle

  • Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  • Transitions and resurrection in the performing arts
  • ‘Archaeology tour’ of Cebu’s heritage of faith
  • Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  • ‘Imports’ from London, and play of the year
  • Entertainment

  • Arrest warrants out vs. Deniece Cornejo, Cedric Lee, et al over serious illegal detention
  • Lindsay Lohan says she had a miscarriage
  • Discovery network cancels Everest jump
  • ‘Captain America’ stays strong atop US box office
  • Easter musings
  • Business

  • Oil prices to go up on supply concerns, optimism on US rebound
  • Century Pacific Food sets IPO price at P13.75 per share
  • Oil prices down in quiet Asian trade
  • Asian shares mixed in holiday-thinned trade
  • BDO seen keen on bidding for Cocobank
  • Technology

  • PH has slowest internet in Southeast Asia
  • Nintendo’s trailblazing Game Boy marks 25th anniversary
  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Opinion

  • Gigi’s home
  • Palace stonewalls on MRT inquiry
  • Couple of things too
  • There is plenty of water behind Wawa Dam
  • Triduum thoughts of a young boy
  • Global Nation

  • QC woman who flew in from Middle East tests negative for MERS-CoV
  • DFA, DOH urge OFWs not to panic over MERS-Cov
  • Balikatan could spoil peace talks, says militant group
  • DFA officers hold workshop on aiding human traffic victims
  • Canada in communication with PH on toxic wastes
  • Marketplace