The Lilongwe Chief Resident Magistrate’s Court has shifted to tomorrow (Tuesday) to deliver a sentence on Chinese national Yun Hua Lin, who was convicted of wildlife offences in June this year.
State lawyer, Andy Kaonga has told Nation Online that he received a communication from the court that the sentencing will not take place today but Tuesday.
Yun is considered a mastermind of one of Southern Africa’s most prolific wildlife trafficking syndicates.
He is believed to be 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.
So far, 13 others—nine Chinese and four Malawian nationals— have received prison sentences on a variety of offences related to the possession of firearms and protected or listed species, including pangolin, rhino horn, hippo teeth and elephant ivory.
Yun’s wife, Zhang, is one of the convicts and is currently serving an 11-year prison sentence.
The sentencing of Yun will be pivotal to Malawi’s story in 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.