CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga -- Four Japanese treasure hunters and 13 Filipino workers were arrested by police operatives while conducting unauthorized treasure hunting in Capones Island in Barangay Pundakit, San Antonio, Zambales, Thursday.
Senior Superintendent Christopher Mateo, Zambales police provincial director, identified the suspects Domyo Ukari, 56, a native of Kagoshima; Shinchi Kawano, 44, of Kanagawa; Mori Eizo, 60, of Tokyo; and a 15-year-old boy, a native of Kawagoe Shi, Saitama; all in Japan.
The Filipino suspects were identified as Lloyd Marlo Cerezo, 22; Arnold Argel, 23; Rexy Maycong, 21; Rodrigo Castro, 58; Luis Cerezo, 39; Lymar Cerezo, 20; Reggie Maycong, 25; Noel Flores, 29, and Jason Ebalane, 27, all of Cawag, Subic, Zambales; Gregorio Domingo, 34, and Effer Tolentino, 24, both from Balaybay, Castillejos, Zambales; and Espiridon Gumacao, 62, and Ronald Gonzales, 48, both from Olongapo City.
Mateo said a joint operation of San Antonio MPS, 2nd Provincial Mobile Force Company (Zambales PFMC) and MDRMMO was mobilized to check alleged illegal mining in Capones Island.
The lawmen arrived at the site around 6:30 a.m. and were able to apprehend the suspects while in the process of digging at the west side of the island, about 50 meters southeast from the lighthouse which is manned by government personnel.
The report said that based on the depth of the tunnel, around 16 feet deep, authorities believe that the suspects were operating in the rocky island for more than a month now.
Confiscated from the suspects were one compressor, a generator set, two units of metal detectors, a jack hammer, and other assorted equipment for mining.
All the suspects, except the minor, were detained at the police station here while charges of illegal mining, malicious mischief, and violation of municipal ordinance pertaining to Marine Protected Area. (Ric Sapnu)