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Fri Dec 19 11:20:15 SAST 2014

Rhino poacher filmed in action

Sapa | 09 November, 2012 08:30
IN THE DOCK: (From right:) Harry Claasens, Tool Sriton, Marnus Steyl, Punpitak Chunchom and Chomlong Lemthongthai make an appearance in the Kempton Park Magistrate's Court on charges related to rhino poaching. File photo.
Image by: LAUREN MULLIGAN

A video of a rhino hunt by game farmer Marnus Steyl, against whom criminal charges relating to rhino poaching were withdrawn this week, has surfaced.

The Mail&Guardian published  the video on its website on Friday, which was filmed in January last year, and shows Steyl, accompanied by a professional hunter, repeatedly shooting a rhino.

It shows the animal crying as it struggles to stand up after the first shot, then shows several people taking turns posing next to the animal with a rifle.

The National Prosecuting Authority withdrew charges against Steyl in the Kempton Park Magistrate's Court this week.

He had been accused alongside Thai national Chumlong Lemthongthai with, among other things, illegally trading in and exporting rhino horn.

Lemthongthai pleaded guilty and was convicted this week. He is said to be the most senior member of a rhino horn smuggling ring ever convicted in the country.

Charges against another Thai national Punpitak Chunchom were also withdrawn, reported the Mail&Guardian.

It quoted NPA Gauteng spokeswoman Phindi Louw as saying there were several reasons for the withdrawal of the charges, including that the case was "based on circumstantial evidence".

Lemthongthai is scheduled to be sentenced on Friday.

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