Alleged key player in lion bone syndicate in court after handing himself over to police

2018-11-27 22:12
Police and Hawks officer recovered lion and tiger bones during the arrest of eight men near Klerksdorp on Sunday, 25 November 2018. Credit: Hawks

Police and Hawks officer recovered lion and tiger bones during the arrest of eight men near Klerksdorp on Sunday, 25 November 2018. Credit: Hawks

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A ninth suspect and alleged key player in an illegal international lion and tiger bone syndicate has handed himself over to police as investigations into an illegal North West lion and tiger slaughterhouse intensified on Tuesday.

Hawks spokesperson Captain Tlangelani Rikhotso told News24 that Michael Frederich Fouche, 42, also known as Frikkie Fouche, was taken to the Klerksdorp Magistrate's Court after handing himself over on Tuesday morning.

He joined his co-accused relative Johagem Louis Fouche, 22, Lourens Pretorious, 24, and Vietnamese nationals Nguyen Huu Son, 30, Nguyen Van Tuan, 33, Dao The Thanh, 38, Pham Van Khue, 56, Chanh, 56 and Cu Quoc Thang, 60, in the dock where they were charged under the Nemba Act (National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act) for the illegal possession of game products and carrying out restricted activities involving specimens of a listed, threatened or protected species.

Fouche is described as the person renting the Hartebeesfontein slaughterhouse property where 40 lions and a tiger were reportedly killed for their bones and other body parts at the weekend.

A clandestine police operation had observed activities at the farm over a length of time before the suspects were arrested on Sunday when their vehicles were intercepted on the N12.

A search of the vehicles and towed-trailer yielded gruesome quantities of freshly cut lion meat and bones, a tiger skin and bones, gas cylinders, gas burners, containers, a saw, knives and other equipment used to process predator carcasses and bones.

A lion skin and more bone cutters were later found during a search of Fouche's farm.

News24 understands police are looking for more suspects, and further charges could be added.

The matter was postponed to December 5, 2018, for further investigation and bail applications. The suspects will remain in custody.

ALSO READ: Founded on cruelty, fuelled by money – the end of captive lion breeding?

Read more on:    mahikeng  |  animals  |  poaching

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