Following the arrest of Cove Guardian Erwin Vermeulen Sea Shepherd Founder Captain Paul Watson has released a report stating that 20 police have raided the Cove Guardians hotel…
Twenty officers of the Wakayama Prefecture police have raided the Clarmant Hotel where the Cove Guardians are quartered near Taiji, Japan.
Armed with a warrant the police as seizing computers, phones, hard drives, photos, cameras and anything they deem suspicious.
No reasons have been given for the raid and the Cove Guardians have been careful to not violate local laws.
The raid follows the arrest of Cove Guardian Erwin Vermeulen who was charged with assault on the word of an employee of the Dolphin Resort Hotel. Erwin was attempting to film the transfer of dolphins from the sea to holding pens at the resort. The employee claims that Erwin pushed him. There were no other witnesses to this allegation.
In contrast a recent assault on two female Cove Guardians by a fisherman resulted in the fisherman being questioned and released despite video evidence of the assault.
At present the Cove Guardians, Scott, Melissa and Ron and also Heather from Save Japan’s Dolphins are being detained and have been cut off from communication with the outside world.
Nicole MacLaughlan managed to get word to us because she was leaving the hotel to go to Osaka just as the police made their move to raid the hotel.
It appears that the police are acting out of frustration and desperation with a crack down against a group that has not committed a single infraction and have operated strictly within the boundaries of Japanese law.
We anxiously await word of their release from detainment and if we hear nothing we will assume they have been incarcerated at the jail in Shingu.
Because this event has happened directly after the arrest of Erwin, some are suspecting something more sinister going on behind these actions. Watson later released this update on the event as well…
Just prior to press time for this report, Paul Watson released the following statement on facebook, None of the Cove Guardians were arrested during the raid on their hotel but all laptops, cameras, phone were seized without cause from all the Cove Guardians. The Cove Guardians have been robbed of their property and their ability to document the atrocities at Taiji. This is an act of desperation in an attempt to muzzle free speech and to cover-up the horrific slaughter of the dolphins at the Cove. Now more than ever, the Cove Guardians need volunteers on the ground in the faces of the killers.
Sandy McElhaney via the Examiner:
Today’s incident sent shockwaves through the marine mammal advocacy community. Unable to hide the killings behind the blue tarps that litter The Cove, Taiji is now going on an offensive against activists who are armed only with cameras and video recorders and who seek nothing more than to shine the light of truth on the ongoing travesty of the bloody killing Cove in Taiji, Japan.
I and many others are expecting something worse to soon break out on the Cove Guardians and the Save Japan Dolphins team in Taiji, Japan. As the whaling season is beginning, tension between the Japanese and Sea Shepherd are reaching an all time high, and Sea Shepherd is expecting this to be the most violent Anti-Whaling Campaign they have had yet.