Malawi High Court dismiss Chinese wildlife criminal’s appeal against 14-year prison sentence

It never rains but pours for Chinese national, Lin Yun Hua, as the High Court in Lilongwe upheld a judgement of September 2021 by a Magistrate Court, sentencing him to 14 years in prison for three wildlife crimes.

Lin filed a challenge against his 14-year jail sentence based on two grounds:

(1) The lower court did not use the amended National Parks and Wildlife Act (NPWA) when convicting him.

Lin Hua

(2) The 14-year sentence was harsh, arguing the court should have considered a 10-year sentence stipulated in the old act.

However, Judge Anabel Mtalimanja, on Friday, December 9 2022, dismissed the application, saying the lower court convicted and sentenced Lin based on the amended act, on which Lin actually took plea.

This High Court ruling, according to Senior State Advocate Mathews Chione, means Lin remains convicted and sentenced as meted out by the Magistrate Court.

Authorities arrested Lin in August 2019 following a three-month manhunt. Police said he was found with the horns of five rhinos chopped into 103 pieces.

He was also charged and sentenced for money laundering crimes.

Lin Yun Hua is allegedly a leader of an African wildlife trafficking syndicate known as the Lin-Zhang gang. It has operated out of Malawi for at least a decade.

Authorities have also sent 14 people to prison in connection with the trafficking syndicate, including Lin’s wife and son-in-law.

Lin’s daughter was also arrested in December 2020 for alleged money laundering offenses. Her case is ongoing.

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