The South African National Parks (SANParks) has welcomed a 40 year conviction of a self-confessed rhino trader and smuggler, Thai national Chumlong Lemtongthai in the Kempton Park Magistrate Court in Johannesburg.
"The court has handed out justice on behalf of the South African people, said SANParks chief executive officer, Dr. David Mabunda. "This strong message from our courts does not leave one in doubt that our country's courts are meting out tough justice to those who plunder our heritage. The message is clear - they will be removed from society for a very long time."
"We welcome the seriousness with which our country's justice-cluster has treated this matter as well as the stiff sentence of an effective 40 years imposed on the perpetrator. This is indeed a happy day for the conservation fraternity in South Africa and we hope it will serve as a deterrent to would be poachers," said Dr. Mabunda.
The country had lost 528 rhinos this year with 320 killed in the Kruger National Park (KNP). The number of arrests made so far stand at 222 for the country with 55 in the KNP.
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