July 27, 2005
Tahitian Customs Capture Reject Pearls Bound for China
On July 22, Tahiti Faa'a airport's customs officers said they found over 66 pounds of reject pearls in a 132-lb. pack of pearls, reports Tahitipresse. The pearls were intercepted prior to export to China. The quantity of rejects seized is four times the total amount seized last year in 77 cases.
"The offense committed is the most severely punished by customs law. All the fraudulent goods are to be seized and the offender fined up to twice the goods' value," said Vaea Vivish, one of the custom officers who intercepted the goods. Good quality pearls in the pack will be auctioned and the pearl farming public department will crush rejects.
"Rejects must be kept off the local market and the export market. Customs officers seize all pearls that look bad, pearl farming department experts control their quality. If they are really poor quality pearls, they are destroyed," said Anne-Sandrine Talfer, a pearl farming department representative.
"Smugglers are dealt a severe blow. Rejects spoil the reputation of our pearls, we won't let it happen," said Keitapu Mmaatuiahutapu, secretary of state for the sea Industry in Tahiti.