ALAMINOS CITY—Two Japanese nationals and four Koreans were arrested on February 24 and later fined for taking a three-kilo fresh whole meat of a giant clam from the Marine Protected Area within the periphery of the Hundred Islands National Park.
P/Supt. Armando Muena, city police chief here, identified those taken into custody as Ken Yamatani, 27 from Bunkyo Koruku, Japan and Eri Ando, 24, from Atsugi Nakatyou, Japan and four Korean nationals, namely: Dason Choi, 24, Jieun Sung, 22, Tap Wang, 22 and Bin Wang, 22, all presently residing in Baguio City.
The group was endorsed to the police by personnel of Public Order and Safety Office for investigation after Yamatani was found to have in his possession the giant clam meat.
The foreigners went out on a tour at the Hundred Islands and were ferried to the Coral Garden. by a boatman named Rommelio Caranza.
After about an hour in the water, Caranza saw Yamatani holding the meat of a giant clam, an endangered specie and the gathering of which is prohibited under Republic Act 7586, the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act.
A violation of the law is subject to a penalty of a fine of not less than P5,000.00 but not more than P500,000.00 or an imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years.
After Yamatani and another South Korean national pleaded that he be just administratively fined, Muena recommended to City Administrator Wilmer Panabang that the Japanese offender be asked merely to pay a fine for humanitarian reasons.
Yamatani eventually paid P10,000 at the City Treasurer’s Office and was released from police custody.—Eva Visperas