MPUMALANGA – Four out of the five syndicate members that were arrested early this year by Mpumalanga Hawks were found guilty and sentenced by Middelburg Regional Court on Thursday for dealing in rhino horns.
The suspects were arrested in an operation that covered two provinces – Frees State and Mpumalanga – which got under way on 04 January 2018 and concluded in 15 January this year. During the long stretched operation, one rhino horn, an elephant tusk, drugs and more than R675 000 in cash was seized.
Yansen Fenc, a Chinese national was found guilty on dealing in rhino horn and was sentenced to pay R60 000 or 6 months imprisonment and a further 18 months suspended for 5 years on condition the he is not found guilty again on similar charge. He was also ordered to pay as compensation R1 million rands to the stop Rhino Poaching Project before 28 February 2018.
Liu Li Hong (32) also a Chinese national was found guilty on drug charge and illegal immigration. She was also sentenced to pay R60 000 or 2 years imprisonment on drug charge and 3 months imprisonment for being in the country illegally suspended for 5 years. She was however arrested at court by Immigration officials for deportation.
The couple Jozeph Albertus Du Pleesis (71) and his wife Johanna Du Plessis (55) were fined R20 000 or two years imprisonment each for dealing in rhino horns as well .The case against Deon Cornelius, the game farmer, was postponed to 23 March 2018 for sentencing, pending further investigations.