The Department of National Parks and Wildlife has applauded as a landmark ruling the sentencing of Chinese Yun Hua Lin to 14 years imprisonment for wildlife offences.
The Lilongwe Chief Resident Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday also sentenced Yun to six years imprisonment for money laundering in relation to dealing in pieces of rhino horns valued in millions of kwacha.
Reacting to the judgement, Department of National Parks and Wildlife director Brighton Kumchedwa observed that convicts such as Yun have caused extensive damage to the tourism industry and deserve to be locked up.
He said : “A s government, we are happy with the custodial sentence of this kingpin because people like Yun are the ones who have been recruiting others to indulge in such crimes, but now that he will be in prison, such offences will likely go down.”
Yun , who wasa rrested in August 2019, is believed to be a mastermind of one of southern Africa’s most shrewd wildlife trafficking syndicates.
Senior resident magistrate Florence Mse ka n d i a n a , who delivered the sentence on behalf of former chief r e s ident magistrate Violet Chipao who is now a High Court judge, recommended that the Ministry of Homeland Security deports the convict upon completion of his sentence.
In an interview after the ruling, State lawyer Andy Kaonga said he was satisfied with the ruling, adding that it was worth the two-year wait.
He said: “We had expert witnesses who came from outside the country to testify and they managed to convince the court that 103 pieces of the horns were from five rhinos.”
So far, 13 others— nine Chinese and four Malawians — h a v e imprisoned for 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 currently serving an 11- year prison sentence. Yu n a n d Z a n g ’ s daughter, Lin Hui Xin, and another Chinese Li Hao Yaun, are also serving 11 years for syndicate-related cr imes. The daughter was arrested in December 2020 alleged money laundering offences.