News / Africa

S. Africa Sentences Rhino Horn Trader to 40 Years

Rhinos with cut horns walk at a farm in Musina, Limpopo province, South Africa, May 9, 2012.
Rhinos with cut horns walk at a farm in Musina, Limpopo province, South Africa, May 9, 2012.
VOA News
A South African court has sentenced a Thai national to 40 years in prison for circumventing a ban on the export of rhino horns.

Chumlong Lemtongthai had pleaded guilty to organizing bogus trophy hunts to obtain rhino horns for sale on the international black market.

Thai national Chumlong Lemtongthai attends hearing at a South African court, Nov. 7, 2012. Click to enlargeThai national Chumlong Lemtongthai attends hearing at a South African court, Nov. 7, 2012. Click to enlarge
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Thai national Chumlong Lemtongthai attends hearing at a South African court, Nov. 7, 2012. Click to enlarge
Thai national Chumlong Lemtongthai attends hearing at a South African court, Nov. 7, 2012. Click to enlarge
The sentence handed down in Johannesburg Friday is the harshest ever given for a wildlife crime in South Africa.

However, the World Wildlife Fund says it is concerned that charges against  Lemtongthai's co-defendants -- three South Africans and two Asian nationals -- were withdrawn without explanation.

The WWF says the move does not send a "strong message" regarding South Africa's attitude to the involvement of its own citizens in rhino crimes.

Jo Shaw, the WWF's South Africa Rhino Coordinator, said it is important that people involved in rhino crimes receive sentences that match the severity of their actions to form "an effective deterrent to others."

Officials say a record 528 rhinos have been killed in South Africa this year.  Demand for rhino horns has soared in Asia, where they are widely believed to have medicinal qualities, despite evidence to the contrary.

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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Trevor Fox
November 09, 2012 1:38 PM
Apparently a licence to hunt one Rhino in South Africa can be issued, so what sense does it make to allow this to continue. Surely no Rhino hunting should be permitted. It would be interesting to know what the cost a Rhino permit is. Selling the horn in the Far East, one could easily make an immense profit.
The Game Farms that permit this hunting must be making a profit along with the Government Department issuing the licence to hunt Rhino. A survey of licences granted should be
printed. mmmm could be revealing.

In Response

by: nubwaxer from: usa
November 11, 2012 11:30 AM
mr fox, i found the answer on the first listed google search result:
CITES The Southern White Rhino is allowed to be hunted as a trophy in South Africa, importation of these trophies is allowed into USA and Europe. Trophies hunted in South Africa only require a CITES export permit.
White Rhino – Trophy Hunting: $ 55 000 – $ 150 000
White Rhino – Green Hunt: $ 8000
White Rhino License Fee: $ 1000
Black Rhino – Trophy Hunting: $ 250 000 – $ 350 000
Black Rhino – Green Hunt: $ 20 000
Black Rhino License Fee: $ 1000
there's a warning at that site that it's a hunting site therefore the images may be disturbing, especially to someone like me who believes the rhino to be a generally docile beast and far more valuable as a tourism asset in the country where it lives.

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