365 suspected rhino poachers arrested in first half of 2018

19 August 2018 - 12:01 By Nico Gous
Image: 123RF/Jacoba Susanna Maria Swanepoel

In the first six months of this year‚ 365 suspected rhino poachers were arrested.

“Between January and June 2018‚ the Rhino 9 Task Team secured various convictions‚ the maximum [sentence received being] nine years’ imprisonment and the least being three months’ imprisonment with the option of paying a R1‚500 fine‚” national police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said on Sunday.

The Rhino 9 Task Team is a multidisciplinary team operating in Mpumalanga‚ consisting of members from the police‚ the South African Revenue Service (SARS)‚ the South African National Defence Force (SANDF)‚ SANParks and Ezemvelo Nature Reserve.

Of the 365 suspects‚ 165 remain in custody as their court processes continue. Six were deported‚ 11 fined and 57 are in prison.

“These convictions are evidence of the commitment of law enforcement agencies and game reserve parks to preserve endangered species for future generations.”

In the past week‚ 15 suspects between the ages of 33 and 50 years were arrested in Mpumalanga where the police seized four unlicensed firearms and ammunition.