Philippine court convicts 9 Chinese fishermen

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Nine Chinese fishermen were convicted by a court in western Philippine province of Palawan for poaching on Monday.

Provincial prosecutor Allen Ross Rodriguez said Puerto Princesa City Regional Trial Court Branch 51 Judge Ambrosio de Luna issued the sentence during the promulgation of the case.

Rodriguez said the Chinese fishermen were convicted for violating Section 87 of Republic Act (RA) 8550 or the Philippine Fisheries Code for poaching and Section 97 of (RA) 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation Act for taking of rare, threatened or endangered species.

"For violation of Section 87 or poaching, the court meted each of them a fine of 100,000 U.S. dollars or in case of non-payment, a subsidiary imprisonment of six months," he said.

Rodriguez said in a phone interview that the fine was in dollars due to the fact that the "Philippines has adopted the provision of the United Nation Convention on the Law of the Seas or UNCLOS when it comes to poaching."

As for violation of Section 97 of RA 9147, the prosecutor said the court imposed a penalty of 120,000 pesos (2,700 U.S. dollars) each and/or imprisonment ranging from 12 to 20 years.

The Chinese fishermen were currently detained at the Palawan Provincial Jail.

Eleven fishermen were intercepted by Philippine police while conducting regular operation aboard Qiongqionghai 09063 near China 's Half Moon Shoal on South China Sea on May 6.

Two minor fishermen were later released by the Philippine authorities.

Philippine media reported that around 500 sea turtles had been found on the Chinese vessel, and that many were dead, according to photographs published by Philippine authorities.

However, the two minor Chinese fishermen released by Philippine authorities have said that the sea turtles they were accused of " poaching" were actually traded from a Vietnamese fishing boat. Endi

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