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Rhino smuggler gets sentence reduced to 30 years

Publish date: 03 September 2013
Issue Number: 326
Diary: Legalbrief Environmental
Category: General

Self-confessed rhino poaching kingpin Chumlong Lemthongthai has successfully appealed against his 40-year jail term in the South Gauteng High Court, according to a Weekend Argus report.

He will now serve a sentence of 30 years. Last year the convicted rhino horn trafficker pleaded guilty to organising bogus trophy hunts to sell rhino horns on the international black market, according to the report. It says the ruling was a landmark victory for anti-poaching organisations and was widely welcomed by animal activists. Despite the reduced sentence, activists for Animals Africa, who have protested at every court hearing of Lemthongthai since July 2011, said they were very happy that a strong message was sent by the High Court. 'Rhino killing, whether by poachers or syndicates will not be tolerated in South Africa. To date 596 rhino have been killed and for us, Chumlong is responsible for fuelling this illegal trade. Lemthongthai... still has one of the highest sentences given to a rhino killer, he is responsible for the deaths of at least 26 rhino with another 50 on order,' said Animal Africa's Miranda Jordan. Weekend Argus (subscription needed)

In other rhino poaching case before the courts: Three Mozambican nationals have been jailed for 16 years each for killing a white rhino and its calf in the Kruger National Park in May 2012, says a TimesLIVE report. Julius Ngwenya (20), Daniel Jadere (22) and Antonio Malunga (20) pleaded guilty to five charges when they appeared before Magistrate Edward Hall in the Nelspruit Regional Court. Their charges included entering the KNP without written authorisation from management, two for carrying out a restricted activity in a designated area (killing and dehorning a white rhino cow and its calf), and possession of an illegal firearm and ammunition. 'The rate of poaching increases despite the efforts by the two governments. Mozambican poachers will in future be followed right into their own country and be arrested there,' Hall said. Full TimesLIVE report

Two Limpopo men have been convicted of rhino poaching by the Modimolle Magistrate's Court, notes a report on the IoL site. They were also found guilty of illegal possession of a rifle and ammunition. Sentencing is on 8 November. Full report on the IoL site