Paramount chiefs of custom movement of Turaga in the island of Pentecost, Chief Viraleo is due to appears in Port Vila Magistrate Court at 10h00 with his other eight people.
They are facing charges of unlawful assembly, damage to property, theft and treats to kill. Police arrested them last month and brought them to Port Vila following their action to burn down houses in two villages at Sardine Bay on the Eastern part of the island. The incident happened over the harvest of sea cucumber in their conservation area by foreign companies. On September last year, department of fisheries gave over ten licenses to fish sea cucumbers in the islands affected by the cyclone Pam in order to earn small income. The harvest season lapsed at the end of last month. During harvest season department of fisheries has also suspended few licenses after they were caught fishing in conservation areas. The authorities have also intercepted foreigners who were Fijians and Chinese nationals were brought into the country with visitor’s visa but were found later in islands harvesting sea cucumber. They have confiscated their passports and ordered to 200 000 vatu fines. Two local companies, D Advisory and Vanuatu Natural Resource were forced to council their harvest license after they found that were used as riding horse by foreigners