Rhinos - harsh sentence makes statement

2011-08-04 20:12

Johannesburg - Two foreign nationals were convicted and sentenced on Thursday for illegal possession of rhino horns, the Endangered Wildlife Trust said.

Duc Manh Chu was arrested at the OR Tambo International Airport last year after he was found with 12 rhino horns, said Rynette Coetzee from the trust law and policy programme.

He was sentenced at the Kempton Park Regional Court to 10 years in jail for illegal possession of the horns and an additional two years in jail for fraud.

He was sentenced under Section 57 (1) of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, Act 10 2004 (Nemba) as well as fraud in terms of the Customs and Excise Act, Act 91 of 1964.

"The full sentence is therefore 12 years imprisonment with no option of a fine. This is the highest penalty handed down for a biodiversity crime to date under Nemba," said Coetzee.

Phi Hung Nguyeng, also arrested last year at the same airport, was sentenced to six years in jail for possession of six rhino horns and a further two years for fraud, under the same laws.

Critical component

Magistrate Prince Manyathi warned that it made no difference whether a person was caught killing a rhino or carrying rhino horn. The same penalty would be handed down.

According to Coetzee, he told the court he did not want to one day only be able to show his grandchildren pictures of rhinos as they had all been killed.

Coetzee applauded the excellent work of all those who worked on the case.

"We recognise that conservationists are not just those lucky enough to work on game reserves, but includes all people who are committed to conserving our natural heritage and protecting our wildlife from illegal trade and poaching.

"South Africa has excellent environmental legislation, and strong enforcement of these laws forms a critical component of a national conservation movement."

  • Tsheps16V - 2011-08-04 20:18

    12 years is nothing..... the lives of these rhino are worth more than the life of humans therefore these thugs killling our animals should get at least 30 years for killing these beautiful creatures....

      James Weather - 2011-08-04 20:37

      Agreed .... They should be shot!

      AndrewG - 2011-08-04 21:16

      On the plus side, a prison sentence in SA is as good as a death sentence as you can pretty much guarantee that they will become some HIV infected cons bitch for the next 12 years!

      THE.SRG - 2011-08-04 21:36

      i dont like you Tsheps16V but i have to agree with you on this one

      Jawellnofine - 2011-08-04 22:03

      Could perhaps have been classified as harsh if they got 10yrs per horn - to be served consecutively. 12 years in total ... minus about 4 for good behaviour etc etc and they could be back killing Rino in 4 to 5 years

      Fred - 2011-08-04 23:12

      Fully agree with you. They should have their d*cks cut off while they are still alive, and then let them bleed to death while they think about what they have done.

      nic - 2011-08-05 02:07

      I hear you, but dude, but lol, 12 years for a little chinese guy in a SA prison... he is pretty much f*cked. Well deservedly so.

      OBwun - 2011-08-05 11:33

      Ah, yes but they have essentially been given the death sentence - how long before that large oke down the cel block has his wicked way with them? AIDS will have it's way....

  • sam - 2011-08-04 20:21

    12 years and 8 years.... HARSH sentences?? Oh give me a break! They should at least get life! Or let someone cut off one of their body parts like they did to those poor rhino's! Bloody scumbags. They should be tortured and left to die.

      Grayman - 2011-08-04 21:22

      What's the difference between carrying 6 horns or 12 horns? I reckon both should have been nailed with 12 years. As for being a harsh sentence, I certainly would not like to be a Chinese or far easterner in a South African jail! The physical sentence may only be a few years but there is a great chance that some of his fellow inmates will inflict a 'torture' and the resultant infection will certainly bring on a slow puncture death.

      THE.SRG - 2011-08-04 21:34

      Ouch...those little Asian ringpeice are gonna get there fair share of horning in the SA prisons...good i say

  • brinjal - 2011-08-04 20:25

    It is the harshest sentence allowable by law, the magistrate needs to be congratulted.

      Komasa - 2011-08-04 21:10

      Agreed brinjal maybe that law is outdated needs to be reviewed.

  • jockvanwyk - 2011-08-04 20:30

    what amazes me is how are these thugs are able to get 12 rhino hors.There must be locals assisting them

      Grayman - 2011-08-04 21:26

      Aye Jock, in order for this epidemic to reach such proportions there has to have been corruption. In order for corruption to survive on such a massive scale it has to involve quite a few officials. One then has to wonder how long our world heritage Kruger Park will last under these corrupt officials.

  • v3 - 2011-08-04 20:33

    Well done, Magistrate Manyathi! If the punishment fits the crime (and more criminals are caught) maybe they will stop.

  • Andrew Honiball - 2011-08-04 20:36

    Well done to the judge. Should be 20 years at least though. Now lets do the same with perlemoen poachers, including the corrupt police officers assisting them.

  • tdk25 - 2011-08-04 20:38

    Should have shot them in the nuts!!!! Bastards

  • Gomez - 2011-08-04 20:39

    Magistrate Prince Manyathi,you are the man!

  • AnimalFarm - 2011-08-04 20:45

    These dudes are going to need the rhino horn in the Mississippi,They gonna be vely busy pleasing some vely big dudes...!

  • Peter - 2011-08-04 20:55

    Fantastic job, Magistrate Prince Manyathi!! This country is in desperate need of more people of your character. You clearly serve our country and its people with pride and loyalty. Congratulations, sir, you did well. And let this sentence be a lesson to all those who wish to come and loot our beautiful country and its precious natural resources!

  • michael.e.bowery - 2011-08-04 21:00

    Great, no quarter given, I applaud it.

  • letsee - 2011-08-04 21:15

    Death sentence would suite.

  • Joy - 2011-08-04 21:23

    Awesome .... nail the buggers!!!

      Macho Mike - 2011-08-04 22:15

      Joy, these horn thieves will certainly be nailed - in jail. Papa wag vir hulle.

  • Vela Stardust - 2011-08-04 22:20

    Wonderful! Some justice at last!

  • MetalWomble - 2011-08-04 22:21

    12 years in a SA prison is a harsh sentence when you consider he will come out with AIDS and an anus 10x wider than when he went in...

  • GMAN1970 - 2011-08-05 06:15

    The magistrate certainly gave it horns, well done! Now they will feel the 'prick'!

  • pig - 2011-08-05 06:21

    they should have got a life sentence, and a hefty fine to be donated to the parks board!

  • Powerplay - 2011-08-05 06:57

    Bludy agents......bastads........cut their one arm off and leave them in the Kruger to play "survivor"

  • Phelan Wulf - 2011-08-05 07:33

    Papa wag vir Jou.........

  • Ann - 2011-08-05 07:46

    These sentences are not really a deterrent. Much harsher sentences should be applied when messing with our heritage.

      Dee - 2011-08-05 10:19

      It is better than nothing! - Hope he feels the benefits of the "power" of rhino horn in jail! LOL!!!!

  • Lang Henning - 2011-08-05 08:04

    Well done, Magistrate Manyathi! Also for uniting in justified outrage all commenters on this forum - quite a feat. Personally I feel game rangers should carry arms and shoot poachers on sight. It has worked elsewhere.

  • Wineo'clock - 2011-08-05 08:05

    STATEMENT?????? Oh Please! A Statement would be 10 years per Horn, That way the Juice is not worth the Squeeze!

  • Lee - 2011-08-05 08:52

    A step in the right direction - well done!

  • Manyoza - 2011-08-05 09:17

    OW, OW OW, OW, OW. Now is the time for our current jailbirds to appreciate the variety of a bit of foreign meat. There is a whole lot more "Rhino" horn in jail than in our National Game Parks. OW, OW, OW, OW.

  • Collitjies - 2011-08-05 09:25

    Only 12 years, he should have been locked for 10 years per Rhino horn that would have been a far greater warning to future would be poachers.

  • Carmen2424 - 2011-08-10 11:17

    12 years is not nearly harsh enough! The sentence though is welcomed and long overdue.

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