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smuggler Archives - Rhino Review

After smuggling endangered rhino horns, woman fined $2,000 and gets probation (Los Angeles, California)

By Illegal trade, Law & legislation No Comments
Priscella Vega, The LA Times | February 25, 2020

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A woman convicted of participating in an Orange County-based scheme to smuggle the horns of endangered black rhinoceroses across the globe was sentenced this week to three years’ probation and a $2,000 fine, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Nhu Mai Nguyen’s probation period includes one year of home detention, authorities said. She also was ordered to forfeit 100 blocks of gold and $9,000 in cash seized from a safety deposit box, according to a document signed by Central Court District Judge Christina A. Snyder.

Nguyen told Snyder through a translator Monday, “I know that what I’ve done is wrong. If your honor would forgive me for what I did,” City News Service reported. Nguyen’s attorney, Mona Soo Hoo, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Nguyen is among six people who pleaded guilty in 2012 for taking part in an international smuggling ring, based in Garden Grove, that sold black rhinoceros horns to Vietnam and China between 2011 and 2012. Some believe the horns have medicinal powers.

Traffic, a wildlife trade monitoring network, cites the poaching of rhinos for their horns as one of the main reasons the species is endangered.

In 2013, Nguyen’s boyfriend, Vinh Chuong Kha, also known as Jimmy Kha, was sentenced to 42 months in jail, for their involvement in the ring. His son, Felix Kha, was sentenced to 46 months. They also paid $10,000 fines and about $175,000 in restitution to the IRS, according to authorities.

“By taking out this ring of rhino horn traffickers, we have shut down a major source of black market horn and dealt a serious blow to rhino horn smuggling both in the U.S. and globally,” said Dan Ashe, then director of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Federal wildlife agents in California and other states, working together on an investigation dubbed “Operation Crash,” cracked the ring by tracking hundreds of thousands of dollars through bank wire transfers and travel records.

 

On the front lines in the fight for rhinos

By Antipoaching, Illegal trade No Comments
Times Live | November 14, 2019

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What would drive a man to “smuggle” rhino horn back into Africa at great risk to himself?

This is just one of the situations Grant Fowlds has put himself in as part of his ongoing fight against poaching, to prove a link between southern Africa and the illicit, lucrative trade in rhino horn in Vietnam.

Co-authored by Graham Spence, this book is a story of a man dedicated to conserving Africa’s rhino population. (Image: Jonathan Ball)

Shavings of rhino horn are sold as a snake-oil “cure” for colds or impotence, but a rhino’s horn has no magical or medicinal properties.

It is owing to these misconceptions that rhinoceroses are being killed at an escalating rate that puts the survival of the species in jeopardy.

This corrupt, illegal war on wildlife has brought an iconic animal to the brink of extinction.

In 2016 the number of rhinos poached in SA stood at 1,054 (Department of Environmental Affairs).

In 2017, 529 rhinos had been slaughtered by July 24. In the past nine years, more than 6,100 rhinos have been poached in SA, leaving fewer than 19,000 white, and 2,000 black rhinos in the country.

Growing up on a farm in the Eastern Cape, Grant Fowlds developed a deep love of nature, turning his back on hunting to focus on saving wildlife of all kinds and the environment that sustains both them and us.

He is a passionate conservationist who puts himself on the front line of protecting rhinos in the wild – right now, against armed poachers; but in the longer term, too, through his work with schoolchildren, communities and policy makers.

Chinese man accused of smuggling rhino horns in Malawi pleads ‘not guilty’

By Antipoaching, Illegal trade No Comments
Harold Kapindu, The Nyasa Times | October 22, 2019

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Described by government as ‘Malawi’s most wanted suspected wildlife trafficker and notorious king pin”, Chinese national Lin Yun Hua on Monday October 21 2019 pleaded not guilty in the ongoing rhino horn smuggling case at the Chief Resident Magistrate’s Court in Lilongwe.

Appearing alongside Malawian James Mkwezalamba, Lin Yun Hua is answering charges of being found in possession of rhino horns, money laundering offense and dealing with government trophy.

Original photo as published by Nyasa Times: Ndalama: The charge sheet is too general for an accused person to defend themselves.

In his preliminary observations, lawyer for the accused, Chrispin Ndalama pointed out issues of language barrier, being served with a different charge sheet and that the particulars were too general. “Our client is not conversant with English. In the first hearing, Government provided an interpreter who our client complained that had difficulties to communicate with. Also, we were served with an amended charge sheet which could have slightly affected our approach.

“We also noticed that particulars on the second count on the charge sheet were too general for an accused person to defend himself. The place and timeline should have been specific,” Ndalama told Nyasa Times after the adjournment.

The state, led by Council Andy Kaonga said an alternative interpreter will be identified and argued that charge sheet amendments can further be made until the case is closed. Meanwhile, Lilongwe resident chief magistrate Violet Chipao has adjourned the case to 7th November, 2019.

A total of 10 Chinese and four Malawian nationals have been arrested this year in relation to the syndicate in question and are at various stages of trial. Yun Hua Lin was arrested on 16th August 2019 in Lilongwe (Area 3) following a 3-month manhunt by Malawi Police Service while James Mkwezalamba, 38, from Neno district is currently serving 3 years in prison.