9 Apr 2009

Ringleader of paua poaching operation jailed

6:49 pm on 9 April 2009

The ringleader of a Wellington paua poaching operation has been jailed for three years.

Saravuthy Mao appeared before Judge Bruce Davidson in Wellington District Court for sentencing on Thursday.

The paua poaching operation was broken in May last year after a major investigation.

It involved an undercover Ministry of Fisheries officer purchasing more than nine tonnes of paua valued at more than $1 million.

Earlier this year, Mao was convicted of 16 charges of breaching the Fisheries Act. He appeared in court on Thursday wearing an electronic surveillance ankle brace.

Judge Davidson described Mao's offending as serious, in that it was sustained and premeditated.