Wealthy businessman caught with 1300 undersize fish
A wealthy Chinese businessman who admitted to having more than 1300 undersized and illegal fish and molluscs has been fined $15,000, but a magistrate says he should be going to jail.
Southport Magistrates Court heard that property developer Youhe Wu was a repeat offender, prompting a tongue lashing from magistrate Pamela Dowse who described his actions as 'very mean and nasty'.
"I'm horrified that this man should be committing the same offence," she said.
"This man should be going to prison.
"It is robbing Australia of its natural resources ... not allowing the natural ecology to be maintained.
"(It's) very mean and nasty (and) not necessary.
"However, prison is not allowed under the legislation so he's very lucky because I was going to send him to jail."
Wu, 63, pleaded guilty to possessing 1326 molluscs and 26 undersized fish including snapper, tailor and bream.
The court heard that Wu, who lives in an $8.3 million mansion on the exclusive Sovereign Islands, had a history of breaking fisheries laws and had committed further offences while still awaiting court on the charges to which he pleaded guilty.
The court was told that Department of Fisheries inspectors were alerted after Wu and two co-accused were seen bending down near a mudbank in the Southport Broadwater next to a jet ski in September 2018.
Inspectors recognised them from 'previous interactions', the court heard.
Wu had immediately dropped a handful of shells and tried to empty the bag as inspectors pounced, the Fisheries prosecutor told the court.
Five bags containing 1476 molluscs were found on the jet ski at the boat ramp, the court heard.
A search warrant was executed on his home where police found the
illegal stash of 26 fish.
Wu had claimed he was unaware of Queensland's fishing rules and bag limits on molluscs and also tried to blame a tour boat in the area for the illegal catch.
The court heard he and one of his co-accused, who was fined $10,000,
were 'recidivist' offenders.
Defence solicitor Mark Williams, of Potts Lawyers, told the court that Wu was a property developer and father-of-five who was living in Australia on a retirement visa.
Mr Williams said his client had no criminal history in Australia or China and a conviction could affect his chances of having his visa renewed.
Ms Dowse said Wu had 'pages' of history for fisheries offences but agreed not to record a conviction.
She fined him a total of $15,000 for all seven offences.
The court heard the maximum penalty for each charge was $130,000.
Through an interpreter, Wu told the court that he understood what he was doing was wrong and had stopped committing fisheries offences.
Originally published as 'Mean, nasty' wealthy businessman caught with 1300 undersize fish