Chinese poachers have been spotted at the Philippine-controlled coral reefs in the Spratly Islands with one mission: to destroy the coral reefs.
The Filipino mayor considers this proposed act of cruelty from the Chinese as a form of punishment toward the Philippines. After-all, the Chinese seem to think that the South China Sea is their personal domain.
BBC reporter, Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, was in disbelief of the reported damages caused, so he decided to check it out for himself.
What he witnessed at the South China Sea silenced his skepticism. Around the Philippine island, Pagasa, there were over 12 Chinese boats dumping sand and gravel behind them.
Proceeding onward around the island, Hayes spotted boats with clouds of propane. These boats were using their propellers to tear out the coral reefs.
The reef-mining was evident, but Hayes got into the water to see what damage was actually done. When he swam around he noticed that what used to be a beautiful coral reef became a pile of white debris and broken coral.
The Chinese poachers have been working on this coral reef destruction the past two years, both day and night.
On top of that, Hayes noticed Chinese poachers carrying out substantially sized clams that were most-likely aged to 100 years. A large boat contained massive stacks of these clams which sell anywhere from $1000-$2000 per pair.
So what is the reason for this relentless destruction?
Well, it may not be out of spite toward the Philippines like the mayor insisted. The simple answer can just be epitomized as greed.
In 2012, the Chinese set out to create a manmade island. The same process occurred: destroying the coral reefs, then putting sand and gravel on top of it. Today, their island exists, and approximately six miles of coral reef were destroyed during that process.
Despite the Philippines silent plead of ending the destruction, entering a battle with the Chinese Navy that supports the Chinese poachers, is not in their current agenda.