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Sun Apr 20 20:25:24 SAST 2014

State wants 260 years for man behind rhino killings

KATHARINE CHILD | 08 November, 2012 00:08
Thai national Lemtongthai is seen during a court appearance on charges of rhino poaching at the Kempton Park Magistrate's Court
Thai national Chumlong Lemtongthai is seen during a court appearance on charges of rhino poaching at the Kempton Park Magistrate's Court on November 8 2011 Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko / REUTERS
Image by: SIPHIWE SIBEKO / REUTERS

The state wants the Kempton Park Regional Court to impose a stiff sentence on confessed rhino horn trade kingpin Chumlong Lemtongthai.

On Monday, Lemtongthai pleaded guilty to 52 counts, including trading in rhino horn, breaching the Customs and Excise Act and tax fraud. He organised fraudulent hunting permits for Thai women to shoot 26 rhino on a North West game farm.

Prosecutor Allen Simpson asked magistrate Prince Manyathi to sentence Lemtongthai to 10 years on each of 26 counts of violating the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act - a total of 260 years.

"This would send a strong message," said Simpson. The sentences could run concurrently.

Defence lawyer Terry Price laughed off the argument for a lengthy jail term for Lemtongthai, saying that his client was not "Ted Bundy".

Bundy, a US serial killer, confessed to murdering more than 30 women in the 1970s. He was executed in 1989.

Outside the court, Price said he expected a fair sentence tomorrow.

He said the possibility of a lighter sentence had been made all the more likely by the "ridiculous sentence [ the prosecutor] asked for".

Price told the court that Lemtongthai, "was not a murderer, not a kidnapper or a rapist".

"He is a human being like everyone else.

"He made a mistake," said Price.

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Sun Apr 20 20:25:24 SAST 2014 ::