Chinese nationals arrested for illegal sand dredging


The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Monday announced the arrest of 10 foreign nationals for illegally extracting minerals in San Felipe, Zambales. NBI Director Dante A. Gierran said operatives of the NBI-Environmental Crime Division (NBI-EnCD) arrested 10 foreign nationals, most of whom are Chinese were caught in flagrante operating the dredging vessel SL-D1 siphoning sand which is suspected to be black sand from the dead river and transporting its cargo to the mother vessel.

Gierran identified the suspects Zhining Tang; Liao Nantu; Yichang Lin; Zhibin Xu; Jingwei Chen; Hongming Zhiu; Wen Haihu; Yong Wang; Tang Peilong, all Chinese nationals and Afrizon Hary, an Indonesian national.

The five vessels along the mouth of the Macolcol River were likewise seized and the confiscated vessels consist of one dredger vessel, one tugboat, and three dumb barge.”

The NBI said it has received information regarding the illegal extraction of lahar sand from the mouth of Macolcol River, San Felipe, Zambales, being undertaken by foreign dredging vessels commissioned by domestic firms that lack the necessary government permits issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Mines and Geosciences Bureau (DENR-MGB), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA).

Upon strict instructions from Gierran to immediately act on the information, operatives of NBI-ENCD undertook surveillance activities and counter measures to validate the information that resulted in a joint operation by the NBI-EnCD, DENR-MGB Region 3, and DOLE, with proper coordination with elements of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the area.

The apprehended foreign nationals were presented for inquest before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor, Iba, Zambales for violation of Section 103 (Theft of Minerals) of R.A. 7942 otherwise known as the Philippine Mining Act of 1995.