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May 28, 2020

ComPol Explains Release and Charges for Busted Chinese Businessmen

Chester Williams

A group of men, including four Chinese businessmen and two Punta Gorda residents, was released from custody on Wednesday after being busted near Orange Point in the Toledo District.  The men were found in possession of an icebox filled with shrimps that were purportedly purchased from Guatemalans whom they met with in the vicinity of Sarstoon. The coastguard was able to search the vessel the Belizeans were travelling in, but the Guatemalan vessel continued on its way.  While they were taken into custody by the coast guard patrol, the men were handed over to health officials for quarantine and an investigation by customs commenced.  But they weren’t in quarantine or custody for too long as the men were released shortly thereafter.  This morning ComPol Williams spoke on the incident.


Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“Two of those persons have been charged, another one will be charged, I think today, and they will be taken before the court.  Two of them have been charged, a Belizean and a Chinese businessman from Punta Gorda.  Another one will be charged.  But again, we need to look at the entire circumstances.  Coast guard found these individuals, they were handed over to health officials to be able to establish if they will be going through quarantine.  The police kept them in custody for at least twenty-four hours to see if the Ministry of Health is going to take them through quarantine.  It turned out the Ministry of Health says no, they don’t require quarantine because there is nothing to show that they had gone into Guatemala, per se.”


Hipolito Novelo

“However, they had Corona beers.”


Chester Williams

“Yes, and then they had contraband or Corona beers which would be contraband.  That would be a matter for customs.  Customs is saying that no, they are not going to deal with that, whatever the reason is I don’t know and I cannot speak for Customs.  And so then the police were left with little or nothing to do in the sense that coast guard couldn’t say if these men had gone out of the country and came back in illegally.  So we couldn’t charge them for entering the country illegally.  So what happened is that we looked at it more closely and based on that I directed the officers that we can probably charge for being out and failing to give proper reasons for being out during the non-curfew hours which again is a charge under the state of emergency regulations and so that is how we are proceeding.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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