A taste for pangolin meat and the downfall of an African wildlife cartel

“For Malawi, this shows that there is no such thing as a sacred cow,” Kaonga said. “Money cannot save you, and there is a limit to how m...


“For Malawi, this shows that there is no such thing as a sacred cow,” Kaonga said. “Money cannot save you, and there is a limit to how much corruption can actually earn you.”

The Chinese Embassy in Malawi did not respond to questions about the case.

Eighteen other members of Mr. Lin’s network – including four close relatives – were also prosecuted for offenses such as possession of ivory, pangolin scales, rhino horn, illegal firearms and d ‘explosives. In addition, Mr. Lin’s daughter and another alleged associate have been charged with money laundering.

Many of Mr. Lin’s affiliates were Chinese, but he also worked closely with a number of Malawians. A man, Aaron Dyson, who is fluent in Mandarin, is currently serving 15 years in prison for possession and trafficking of ivory.

“You are looking at a whole Chinese-led network that is being dismantled,” Ms. Douglas-Hamilton said. “It’s a huge win for wildlife.

Malawi police began investigating Mr. Lin’s network in early 2015. In December 2017, they caught his wife and son-in-law buying ivory from a Zambian national and arrested them. Mr. Lin, however, continued to evade detection, and the case against his family members turned cold.

A major breakup occurred in May 2019, when police arrested Mr. Lin’s driver and found three pangolins alive in the trunk of his car. As they questioned the driver, “Mr. Lin kept calling, leaving voice notes asking, ‘Where are you? ”, Said Mr. Kaonga. “He wanted to eat the pangolin meat, and that’s what got him in trouble.

This gave the police reason to conduct simultaneous raids on several of Mr. Lin’s commercial and residential properties in Lilongwe. Sniffer dogs led them to ivory, pangolin scales, pieces of rhino horn and illegal firearms. They made a number of arrests, including the re-arrest of Mr. Lin’s wife and son-in-law. But Mr. Lin was nowhere to be found.

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Newsrust - US Top News: A taste for pangolin meat and the downfall of an African wildlife cartel
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