Chinese poachers moved to Iwahig
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—Twelve Chinese nationals who were convicted of poaching in the Tubbataha Reefs have been moved to the Iwahig Prison, a minimum security facility on the outskirts of this city, to serve their sentence.
The foreigners were sentenced by the Palawan Regional Trial Court to a jail term of six to 12 years in August and ordered to pay fines of $100,000 each. They are still facing a deportation case in the Bureau of Immigration (BI).
Their transfer to Iwahig from a house being rented by the BI was made after RTC Judge Ambrosio de Luna denied the motion filed by the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO), who represented the Chinese, to allow them to remain in BI custody while other cases against them—possession of endangered species and attempted bribery—are still being heard in court.
The Chinese were caught after their boat ran aground in Tubbataha two years ago. Boxes of pangolin meat were found in the holding cargo of the vessel.
Deputy penal superintendent Jacinto Regal told the Inquirer that the Chinese would be staying in a holding facility inside the medium security prison compound for two months as part of regular procedure for processing new inmates.
Their personal items, including tablets, SIM cards and phones, have been “secured for safekeeping while they are in detention,” Regal said. Such items are not allowed in prison. Redempto D. Anda, Inquirer Southern Luzon
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