SALE OF SPORT-CAUGHT FISH NETS MULTIPLE CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS FOR FIVE COLUMBUS-AREA RESIDENTS, ONE RESTAURANT
COLUMBUS, OH -- Five Columbus-area residents and one restaurant were recently convicted of buying and selling sport-caught fish, following a two-year investigation by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. Under state wildlife laws, only commercially caught fish may be sold in Ohio.
Shi Jian Wu, 43, and Yu Zhu Shi, 44, both of Gahanna; Jimmy Li, 32, Huang Jian Song, 32, and Khai S. Wong, 47, all of Columbus, were convicted in Fremont and Franklin County municipal courts of a variety of misdemeanors involving the trafficking of sport-caught white bass and walleye. Song is the owner of the Dragon China Restaurant, located at 6410 Gender Road in Canal Winchester.
Working from an anonymous tip that people were soliciting recreational anglers at a Fremont fishing area to sell their catch, undercover wildlife investigators traced the illegal activity to several Columbus-area restaurant owners. The illegal fish sales were made both in Fremont and Columbus.
The sale of sport-caught fish is a fourth-degree misdemeanor offense in Ohio. However, the sale of walleye or saugeye, both highly sought after sport fish, raises the severity of the charge to a first-degree misdemeanor.
The four men and one woman were charged with a total of eight first-degree misdemeanor charges for buying walleye and five fourth-degree misdemeanor charges for buying white bass, as well as two counts of aiding a wildlife offender. All entered guilty pleas to the charges.
The defendants were sentenced to pay a total of $17,167 in fines, court costs and restitution. They were also levied 780 total days in jail, with the jail time suspended for a five-year probationary period. Loss of hunting and fishing privileges, community service and mandatory poster production and distribution were also included in the sentences.
The Franklin County Board of Health and City of Columbus Board of Health assisted the Division of Wildlife in the investigation.
Anyone observing or suspecting that wildlife violations are occurring may report illegal activity by calling the Turn-In-A-Poacher (TIP) hotline toll free at 1-800-POACHER.
Defendants, charges, and sentences in the case are:
Shi Jian Wu, 43, of Gahanna, was convicted of one count of buying white bass and one count buying walleye. He was ordered to pay $263 in court costs and $5,000 restitution. He was also sentenced to 210 days in jail, with the time suspended for a five-year probationary period. His hunting and fishing privileges were revoked for five years. He may not possess native Ohio wildlife, is subject to random inspections, and may not sell any type of fish for a five-year period.
Yu Zhu Shi, 44, of Gahanna, was convicted of one count of buying walleye. She was ordered to pay $114 in court costs and $1,000 restitution, sentenced to 180 days in jail, with the time suspended for a five year probationary period, and lost her hunting and fishing privileges for five years. She may not possess native Ohio wildlife, is subject to random inspections, and may not sell any type of fish for a five-year period.
Jimmy Li, 32, of Columbus, was convicted of one count of selling white bass and one count of selling walleye. He was ordered to pay $200 in fines, $116 in court costs and $100 restitution. He was also ordered to perform 48 hours of community service. A 210-day jail sentence was suspended and Li was placed on five years of probation. He may not possess native Ohio wildlife, is subject to random inspections, and may not sell any type of fish for a five-year period.
Dragon China Restaurant was convicted as a corporation of two counts of buying white bass and two counts of buying walleye. The restaurant’s owner, Huang Jian Song, 32, of Columbus, was also convicted of two counts of buying white bass and two counts of buying walleye. Song was ordered to pay $9,600 restitution and sentenced to 420 days in jail. The jail time was suspended and he was placed on probation for five years. He also lost his hunting and fishing privileged for five years. He may not possess or sell any native Ohio wildlife individually or at any restaurant that he owns, is subject to random inspections by wildlife officers, and may not sell any type of fish for a five-year period.
Khai S. Wong, 47, of Columbus, was convicted of one counting of aiding a wildlife offender in the purchase of walleye. He was fined $500 and must pay $158 in court costs. A 180-day jail sentence was suspended for one year. Wong was also ordered to make an educational poster about fish buying and selling in Ohio and distribute it to a list of Chinese restaurants throughout the state.
Wong was also convicted in Fremont Municipal Court of one charge of fishing without a license and will be sentenced on July 22.