Rhino horns, elephant tusks and weapons discovered at game reserve

2017-08-19 10:06
Ten rhino horns were concealed in baggage were removed from the cargo hold of an airliner bound for Istanbul, Turkey. (SAPS)

Ten rhino horns were concealed in baggage were removed from the cargo hold of an airliner bound for Istanbul, Turkey. (SAPS)

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Johannesburg - Rhino 08 Poaching Task Team investigators have arrested a 68-year-old farm manager in the Timbavati after they discovered rhino horns, ivory tusks and a huge arsenal of weapons and ammunition at Sandringham Game Reserve on Thursday.

SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo said Samuel Liversage was arrested after police searched the grounds at Sandringham. 

"Ten rhino horns, two large elephant tusks, 11 hunting rifles, of which four are unlicensed, over 1300 rounds of live ammunition and over 150 empty cartridges were seized by the members. All 11 rifles, including the licensed weapons, were confiscated and sent for ballistic testing" Naidoo said.

Liversage, who is listed as a full member of the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa appeared in the Lenyenye Magistrate's Court in the Tzaneen area on Friday and was remanded in custody until August 24 for a bail hearing. 

Last Saturday, Rhino 08 Poaching Task Team also arrested police Stock Theft Unit Captain Chris Du Plessis of the Maake Stock Theft Unit, and three others, after they were alerted to alleged poachers attempting to leave the East Gate Game Farm in the Timbavati area of Limpopo.

“They found Captain Chris Du Plessis escorting three men, Martinus Jacobus Boschoff, 32, Magiel Frederick Klopper, 61, and Joseph Mkhokha, 42, who had allegedly poached a giraffe,” Naidoo said.
 
The team questioned Du Plessis and found an unlicensed revolver, 1 x 270 rifle barrel, one wooden rifle butt, approximately 70 rifle rounds, an unlicensed firearm with the serial number filed off, and a 303 cartridge in his vehicle.

It is understood he has been given notice of suspension in terms of section 43 of the SAPS Act 68/1995, and remains in custody.

The other three suspects were found in possession of a 303 hunting rifle, a silencer, a telescope, more than ten 303 rounds and giraffe game meat.

A bakkie and the licence to the 303 rifle were confiscated. 

Police say they have good reason to believe rifle parts and barrels are being inter-changed and swapped in a ruse to confuse ballistics forensic test analysis.

Du Plessis appeared in Hoedespruit court on Monday, and Thursday, but was denied bail. He was remanded in custody until August 28 for a formal bail application.  

Boschoff, Klopper and Mkhokha were charged with “removal or movement of any controlled animal across land in a controlled area without a permit”. They were released on bail of R800 each and are expected to appear in court on August 28.


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