Hawks sting nets game farmer over rhino horns

2016-08-14 22:03
(Picture supplied)

(Picture supplied)

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Durban – Three men, including a game farmer, were expected back in court on October 12 after they were arrested in a sting operation for allegedly trying to sell rhino horns to an undercover agent, Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said on Sunday.

Pieter Van Zyl, 67, Marco Swanepoel, 35, and Stephan Mylie, 30, who were arrested by the Hawks Endangered Species Unit last Wednesday in Equestria, Pretoria, appeared at the Pretoria Regional Court on Friday.

Van Zyl was granted R20 000 bail while Swanepoel and Mylie were released on R10 000 bail respectively, said Malaudzi.

The case was remanded for further investigation.

Malaudzi said on Wednesday the three men tried to sell five rhino horns to an undercover agent, unaware it was a sting operation.

Massive haul

“After the arrest, the trio were led to their hideout [which happened to be] Van Zyl’s house where a further three rhino horns were found and seized. The eight horns seized are estimated to be worth over R800 000.”

Malaudzi said on Thursday the team returned to Van Zyl’s and police were stunned to find a massive haul of almost 105 rhino horns, the value of which was yet to be determined.

Malaudzi said Van Zyl, a well-known game farmer, alleged the rhino horns belonged to him.

“The Hawks team is validating the alleged permits issued by the department of environmental affairs, as well taking DNA samples of all horns and comparing them to the RhODIS (rhino DNA index system) database at Onderstepoort,” he said.

Read more on:    pretoria  |  rhino poaching  |  poaching
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