BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)—The Lilongwe Chief Resident Magistrate’s Court has today slapped a Chinese national Yun Hua Lin with a 14-year jail term for wildlife offences.
Lin, who was arrested in August 2019, is believed to be a kingpin of an international gang that deals in wildlife products.
Lin sentence is likely going to be key to Malawi’s story on its ability to bring high-level wildlife criminals to justice. Records from the Department of National Parks and Wildlife show that since 2018 to date, 194 people have been arrested and convicted for wildlife crimes.
The court has since asked the Ministry of Home Affairs to deport the convict upon completion of his jail term.
He is believed to the head of the ‘Lin-Zhang gang’ which has been operating in and out of Malawi for past 10 years, the court heard during his trial.
He was arrested in August 2019 alongside Malawian National James Mkwezelemba after a 3-month manhunt by the authorities and was already convicted by the same court.
Poaching has decimated the world elephant population, which slumped in Africa from several million at the turn of the 19th century to around 400,000 in 2015.
According to conservation group WWF, as much as 60 percent of all elephant deaths can be blamed on poaching.
There is a huge demand in Asia for elephant tusks, rhino horns and other animal parts for their purported medicinal properties.
Authorities believe Lin-Zhang has been operating in Malawi — a landlocked southeast African country surrounded by Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia — for at least a decade.