Authorities dismantle wildlife Chinese syndicate in Malawi

The Lin-Zhang syndicate, believed to be one of Southern Africa’s most prolific wildlife trafficking gangs, is in the process of being dismantled by authorities in Malawi.

Chinese suspects  of wildlife crime outside Malawi court
Illustration of Chinese suspects in court

Having been found guilty of at least one wildlife trafficking offence of a listed or protected species, nine members the Lin-Zhang  syndicate were expected to be sentenced on Friday, 17 July, but the sentencing has been adjourned to Monday, 20 July.

According to documents seen by Nyasa Times, the court did not pass the sentence as it was discovered that the 9th accused person did not present his mitigation as he was not represented.

“The arrangements yesterday was that the convict was going to make mitigations in the morning hours and later in the afternoon the court was going to pass the sentence for all the 9 accused persons,” reads the documents in part.

In addition, the transfer of female prisoners from Lilongwe to Mzuzu prison also affected the sentencing.

“Yesterday, on Thursday we got communication that all female prisoners have been transferred to different prisons as their cells are being used as isolation center for covid 19 patients. So Lin’s wife who is a convict in the 2017 case and a convict in this case  was transferred to Mzuzu prison.

“We made all the arrangements to bring her to Lilongwe court after confirmation from the court that sentence is ready only to come to court and got disappointed,” bemoaned Department of Wildlife and Parks Director Brighton Kumchedwa.

Mrs Qinhua Zhang was convicted of possession of rhino horn and an illegal firearm following her arrest as part of a series of coordinated raids in May, 2019.

Zhang is the wife of Yunhua Lin, the alleged kingpin of the syndicate, who was arrested in August last year following a three-month manhunt.

Others awaiting sentencing are Mrs Zhang’s brothers Guozhong Zhang and Guohua Zhang, her son-in-law Li Hao Yuan, and three others Yanwu Zhuo, Yashen Zhuo, Jinfu Zheng as well as two Malawian nationals namely Cosmas Sakugwa and Steven Daza.

Mrs Zhang husband, Yunhua Lin will appear in court on 22 July on a case to answer for possession of rhino horn, conspiracy, and money laundering.

The Lin-Zhang syndicate is an organised crime network that has been operating in Malawi for at least a decade.

In total, 14 members of the syndicate were apprehended last year. Of the remaining syndicate members arrested in May 2019, one Chinese and two Malawian nationals – Cheng Qiang, James Mkwezalamba, and Julius Sanudia – have each been sentenced to 3 years in prison for possession of live pangolins or pangolin scales.

One more Chinese national, Shine He, has pleaded not guilty to possession of ammunition and explosives, and his trial is ongoing.

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Mina
Mina
7 months ago

Anthu omvetsa chisoni awa Mmmm mtunda kutalika , nkhawa Yanga ndiya madyedwe NDI magonedwe ndende zaku Malawi ndiza Ku China NDI // lines inutu musova , mgaiwa NDI nyemba zikumelani komanso udzudzu NDI nsikidzi. Mudzatchula chi China Kuti tchwatchu. Ushasha kwaeni sibwino.

Norbert Turner
Norbert Turner
7 months ago

We should have nothing to do with China and the Chinese. They have absolutely no interest in developing or helping Malawi. They are only interested in what is good for China. Even the UK and USA are severing their ties with China. We should follow suit.

Popapo
Popapo
7 months ago

Please check also on the restaurant in area 3 just opposite Lilongwe hotel, the owners of the chinese restuarant as just a cleaning place for the money they get from wildlife and trophies. Check their travel documents visiting Mozambique every fortnight with trophies.

Mphatso M
Mphatso M
7 months ago

These Chinese nationals, who relocates to African countries, are mostly ex convicts in China, and their government kind of dump them to Africa. They do not have land in China. People live in impoverished and over crowded environment. They even live on water, on a floating house. China cannot cope with the appalling levels of overpopulation in their country, which is why they coax African leaders to accept their people to come live in Africa. Truth be told that these Chinese nationals, for those who came in very close contact with them, like myself, are the most selfish and self… Read more »

Chautaamalanga
7 months ago
Reply to  Mphatso M

Lets go back to Taiwan and abandon the mainland china

Melvin
Melvin
7 months ago
Reply to  Chautaamalanga

It was the stupid Late Bingu wa Mutharika who took us away from Taiwan, and introduced Malawi to the Chinese government, which was later enhanced by Joyce Banda. Stupid and greedy Presidents.

Chittanooga
Chittanooga
7 months ago
Reply to  Mphatso M

Correct brother. Its better to revert diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Malawi never experienced these wildlife crimes with Taiwanese. But these Chinese no, no. Government needs to do something about it.

Chautaamalanga
7 months ago

Jail these guys for life like it is done in Rwanda and then they will stop trecking to Malawi.Imagine if this was a Malawi found in possession of chamba in China.They would execute him.NO mercy.The law is the law.

Kamuzu Mbewe
Kamuzu Mbewe
7 months ago

Kkkkk, keep dreaming. After sentencing, their Government will request that they complete their sentences from a Chinese prison. By July 2021, they will be operating from Mozambique somewhere near the Chiponde border

Kelvin
Kelvin
7 months ago

3 Years, I thought the wild life laws were revised so that these maroons can be sentenced not less than 12 years?? They need more years and deportation at the end of their sentence..

Wiza
Wiza
7 months ago
Reply to  Kelvin

The laws were reviewed and the sentence can go up to 30 years. There’s however to minimum in the laws but the sentencing guidelines exist which ought to be used. There should also be court precedence from some previous cases. In any case, it shouldn’t be less than 5 years including forfeiture of assets linked to the crime

CESSPOOL
CESSPOOL
7 months ago

Kuyerekedwa ma Orientals a bharatiya yayi a hindi lero pure slit eyes with slit ideas
A restless race. Ku Malaysia kungonyongapu. Impoverished nyasaland under the claws of bourgeoisie class of DPP mafia now nkhandwe zakumumawa

Hardy
Hardy
7 months ago

Mpakana prison kusanduka isolation centre. Hopefully our politicians will send their family members there first

ERUTU
ERUTU
7 months ago

Another ROT 🇲🇼🦏🐘🦨

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