Olivia Li out on P4,000-bail bond from P35-M wildlife smuggling case
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines—The suspect in the 2011 smuggling of at least P35-million worth of endangered marine species was released last Friday after paying a P4,000-bail bond.
Olivia Li was arrested here Friday in connection with the confiscation of two container vans of P35-million worth of black corals, sea turtles and endangered shells in Manila in 2011. She posted bail on the same day.
Her release happened three days before the arrival here of Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources National Director Asis Perez to attend a court hearing for yet another case filed against the suspect in connection with the illegal transport of endangered marine species.
In an interview, Perez said the P4,000-bail bond under the Fisheries Code was specific and was not calculated based on the volume of the prohibited items transported.
“I guess this is an area for law reform but right now there’s nothing we can do,” Perez said.
Li is facing charges for violation of Republic Act 8550, the Fisheries Code of the Philippines relative to the ban on exploitation and exportation of sea corals.
Perez arrived here Tuesday morning as a main witness during the hearing of another case filed against Li.
The other case stemmed from the confiscation of 41 metric tons of endangered marine species in a warehouse in Zamboanga City.
Aside from Li, other respondents to the case include Li Yu Ming also known as Joe Pring, Li’s husband; and Benny Yu and Rosario Yu, the owners of the warehouse where the contraband was found.
The case, another violation of the Fisheries Code, is pending with Branch 16 of the Regional Trial Court of Zamboanga City presided by Judge Catherine Fabian.
The confiscation was said to have been conducted a week after Customs officials intercepted two shipping containers filled with endangered marine species amounting to P35-million at the Eva Macapagal Super Terminal in Manila.
The discovery of the two containers brought widespread attention to the rampant smuggling and illegal transport of endangered species, which resulted in a Senate investigation in the same year.
Li and her husband Joe Pring were reported to have fled the country prior to the Senate investigation.
Pring remains at large.
Perez said Li and Pring have been facing several cases before the Regional Trial Court and the Municipal Trial Court in Manila and Zamboanga City.
Perez said the small bail bond prescribed for the offense has contributed to the continuous violation of the Fisheries Code.
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