Ivory/Rhino Horn Trafficker Lin Yun Hua still before
Final witness testifies against Chinese in Malawi wildlife crime case
In December 2017, Chinese national, Lin Yun Hua @ Yun hua Lin @ Lee “Fingers” (missing 3 digits of left hand), his wife, 2 Malawians and 1 Zambian were arrested and charged relating to 10 ivory pieces weighing 21.5 kg.
In May 2019, police arrested 9 Chinese nationals and 3 Malawians for more wildlife and weapons offences, including possession of a hand grenade. The accused’s wife and son-in-law (both Chinese nationals) were arrested at that time but Lin Yun Hua was not.
He was finally arrested in August 2019 and 3 months later pled guilty to being in possession of 103 pieces of rhino horn. The charges presently before the Malawi courts relate to money laundering and dealing in government trophies.
It appears that both Lin Yun Hua have also been found guilty of the charges relating to the 21 kg of ivory from December 2017 but not sentenced as of yet.
One of the Chinese co-accused from the May 2019 arrest was in January 2020 convicted to 2 years in prison for being in possession fo 405 pangolin scales.
The prosecution has presented its present case and now awaits a decision as to whether the accused has a case to answer (or presented a prima facie case).
May 22, 2020 Harold Kapindu -Nyasa Times
The final state witness, Criminal Investigator Sub Inspector Ikraim Malata on Wednesday testified in the high profile wildlife case involving a Chinese national, Lin Yun Hua.
Lin Yun Hua ,who is dubbed Malawi’s most wanted suspected wildlife trafficker and notorious kingpin , appeared before the Lilongwe Magistrate Court answering charges of money laundering offense and dealing with government trophy.
During the cross and reexamination, investigator Malata emphasized on the point that the leads led to Lin Yun Hua who already pleaded guilty to the charge of Illegal possessions of specimen of listed species, 103 pieces of Rhino horn.
In his remarks, prosecutor Andy Kaonga said the State is happy, stressing that all the witnesses are very important to the case.
Chief Magistrate Violet Chipao then adjourned the case to 8 June 2020 for judicial notice.
Speaking to Nyasa Times after the adjournment, defense counsel Chrispin Ndalama said the defense is patiently waiting for the judicial notice.
“In criminal law, the accused is innocent until proven guilty. The state has brought their witnesses and now we are waiting for the court to make a determination on whether my client has a case to answer,” Ndalama said.
Some of the witnesses who have testified in the case includes South Africa based veterinarian, University of Pretoria Director of veterinary, genetics and laboratory, Dr Cindy Kim Harper and Liwonde National Park Field Operations Manager Lawrence Munlo.
Lin Yun Hua was arrested on 16th August 2019 in Lilongwe (Area 3) following a 3-month manhunt by Malawi Police Service.
In November 2019, Lin Yun Hua pleaded guilty to the charge of Illegal possessions of specimen of listed species.
Facts were presented and court convicted him on his own plea of guilty.
A total of ten Chinese and four Malawian nationals have been arrested were arrested in 2019 in relation to the syndicate in question and are at various stages of trial.