Home Uncategorized ALL SET FOR 9 LIN-ZHANG SYNDICATE MEMBERS COURT SENTENCING IN MALAWI

ALL SET FOR 9 LIN-ZHANG SYNDICATE MEMBERS COURT SENTENCING IN MALAWI

by Harold Kapindu

[ngg src=”galleries” ids=”51″ display=”basic_slideshow”]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.

Today, 17 July,  2020, nine members of that syndicate will be sentenced, having all been found guilty of at least one wildlife trafficking offence of a listed or protected species (pangolin, rhino horn, ivory, or hippo tooth).

These include Mrs Qinhua Zhang, who has been convicted of possession of rhino horn and an illegal firearm following her arrest as part of a series of coordinated raids in May last year.

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 who will be convicted today are Mrs Zhang’s brothers (Guozhong Zhang and Guohua Zhang), her son-in-law (Li Hao Yuan), and three other Chinese and two Malawian nationals (Yanwu Zhuo, Yashen Zhuo, Jinfu Zheng, Cosmas Sakugwa and Steven Daza).

Mrs Zhang is married to the alleged kingpin and gang leader, Yunhua Lin, who will appear in court on 22 July on a case to answer for possession of rhino horn, conspiracy, and money laundering.

He has already pled guilty to possession of rhino horn. Zhang is a repeat offender having been convicted of ivory trafficking offences committed in 2017 for which she is currently serving a 6-year prison sentence alongside their son-in-law, Li Hao Yuan. That was the first time a non-African national has been sent to prison for wildlife crime.

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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