Dolphin guards set upon film crew
By Craig Skehan
21st July 2003
Guards employed in the Solomon Islands by an international syndicate catching dolphins for sale around the world attacked a TV crew and bashed their boat driver at the weekend.
"They beat him non-stop for more than five minutes and blood was coming out of his mouth," said Frank Atu, a New Zealand cameraman working with his journalist wife, Ingrid Leary.
Mr Atu said he was with two Solomon Islanders in a boat he had hired to film more than 30 dolphins in a makeshift pen on the main beach of the capital, Honiara.
The dolphins are among hundreds sold by villagers to the syndicate for about $400 each.
Potential buyers from Mexico, Taiwan and Thailand have inspected the dolphins, which can be sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars as performing animals.
Unconfirmed reports suggest the syndicate - which includes a Canadian and a German - is preparing to fly the dolphins in the Honiara pen to Mexico.