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NEWS UPDATES 7 August  2010

Vietnamese poachers fined in Philippines

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AFTER nearly two years, 13 Vietnamese poachers caught with the corpses of 101 endangered Hawksbill Turtles near El Nido, Northern Palawan in August of 2008 gave been fined approximately P4.5 million each for violating Section 87 of the Fisheries Code.

The court also ordered imprisonment of up to six months, however, since the poachers have been detained in Puerto Princesa since September 2008, the court ruled that only the fines remain to be served.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) commended Branch 50 of the Regional Trial Court of Puerto Princesa for dispensing due justice to the poachers.

WWF further commends the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the local government of El Nido and the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development for seeing the case through.

A Vietnamese vessel was apprehended by two joint Task Force Malampaya gunboats five miles east of Cabaluan Island near El Nido on the night of Aug. 29, 2008.

The 13-man crew attempted to scuttle the craft by flooding the holds, which was swiftly thwarted.

Found drowned in the vessel's cargo holds were 101 Hawksbill Turtles, classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as critically endangered-the highest risk rating for a living animal.

Under Philippine and international law, it is illegal to capture and kill sea turtles and to trade in turtle by-products.

In the last decade more than a thousand foreigners have been arrested and charged for poaching in the waters of Palawan alone. More than 660 poachers were Chinese. Sentences have historically proven rare because the government is wary of damaging international

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