Malawi High Court rejects Chinese convict’s appeal

Nov 2, 2023 | News

By Martha Chikoti , Malawi24

The High Court in Malawi has rejected Chinese wildlife trafficking convict Lin Yun Hua’s appeal against his 14-year sentence which was handed to him by Lilongwe Magistrate Court.

Lin appealed against the conviction and the sentence but the High Court has rejected the appeal because it was filed outside the required period.

Senior State Advocate and Director of Public Prosecutions Mathews Chione said that Lin was supposed to  appeal within 13 days after the judgement but he is appealing today after 13 months.

Chione added that the judge has advised Lin to appeal within 30 days at the Supreme Court on grounds that the High Court has rejected the appeal and the demands he is seeking for the appeal.

Lin received 14 years in 2021 for dealing in rhino horn, alongside 14 years for possession of rhino horn and six years for money laundering. The sentences run concurrently which means he is serving a total of 14 years. He is supposed to be deported back to China on completion of the jail term.

Lin is believed to be the head of the ‘Lin-Zhang gang’, which has been operating out of Malawi for at least a decade.

He was arrested in August 2019 alongside Malawian National, James Mkwezelamba, after a 3-month manhunt by the authorities.

Ten Chinese and 4 Malawian Nationals also received prison sentences on a variety of offences related to the possession of firearms and protected or listed species, including pangolin, rhino horn, hippo teeth, or elephant ivory.

Lin’s wife, Mrs Zhang, is one of the convicts in question, and is currently serving an 11-year prison sentence.

Lin Hui Xin – the daughter of Mr Lin and Mrs Zhang, and also married to a Mr Li Hao Yaun who is also serving 11 years for syndicate-related crimes – was arrested in December 2020 for alleged money laundering offences.  Her trial is ongoing.

The disruption of such a prominent and long-standing network has already been met with global commendation, sending a powerful message to organised crime actors on Malawi’s resolve to disrupt illegal wildlife trade networks.

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