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


  • Drilon calls for sobriety as mudslinging, witch hunts loom due to pork scam
  • S. Korea ferry toll hits 150 as search gets tougher
  • If Napoles names Aquino allies, they’ll be brought to bar of justice – Palace
  • Lacson says diamond-studded earring snatched from wife fake
  • Pope John XXIII launched Vatican II and then some
  • Sports

  • Wizards beat Bulls in OT to take 2-0 series lead
  • Pacers rally past Hawks 101-85 to even series
  • David Moyes out as Manchester United manager
  • Nadal to face fellow Spaniard at Barcelona Open
  • Defensive Chelsea holds Atletico in scoreless draw
  • Lifestyle

  • Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  • Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  • Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  • Life lessons I want to teach my son
  • Sweet party for Andi Manzano
  • Entertainment

  • Ex-Fox exec denies allegations in sex abuse suit
  • Kris Aquino backtracks, says Herbert Bautista and her are ‘best friends’
  • Summer preview: Chris Pratt enters a new ‘Galaxy’
  • Bon Jovi helps open low-income housing in US
  • Summer movie preview: Bay reboots ‘Transformers’
  • Business

  • McDonald’s 1Q profit slips as US sales decline
  • SEC approves SM’s P15B retail bond offer
  • $103M Vista Land bonds tendered for redemption
  • Oil slips to $102 as US crude supplies seen rising
  • SC stops Meralco power rate hike anew
  • Technology

  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Brazil passes trailblazing Internet privacy law
  • New York police Twitter campaign backfires badly
  • Opinion

  • One-dimensional diplomacy: A cost-benefit analysis of Manila’s security deal with Washington
  • No ordinary illness
  • Reforest mountains with fire trees and their kind
  • Day of the Earth
  • When will Chinese firm deliver new coaches?
  • Global Nation

  • Filipina, 51, shot dead by 24-year-old American boyfriend
  • China, rivals sign pact to ease maritime tensions
  • Visa-free US trip? Do not believe it, says consulate
  • Obama visit to Asia seen as counterweight to China
  • Violence mars militant protest at US Embassy
  • Marketplace