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Two Taiwanese get 29 years in Swazi jail for poaching rhinos

2017/11/13 20:58:59

Image taken from Pixabay

Taipei, Nov. 13 (CNA) Two Taiwanese men have been sentenced to 29 years in jail each by the High Court of Swaziland for poaching and dehorning rhinoceroses in the southern African country, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) official said Monday.

In a telephone interview, MOFA spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) told CNA that the two were found in possession of 24 rhino horns at the international airport in Swaziland on Feb. 25 as they were headed home to Taiwan.

They were then arrested on charges of unlawful possession and taken to a local prison for further investigation, according to Lee.

The spokesman said officials from Taiwan's embassy in Swaziland have visited the two suspects several times to provide them with daily necessities, including snacks and telephone cards, so they could remain in contact with their families back home.

Embassy officials were also present at the court hearings to stay up to date on the case on behalf of their families, Lee said.

The Foreign Ministry again called on all citizens to abide by the laws in the countries of their travel, and to refrain from engaging in illegal activities and tarnishing the country's reputation, he said.

According to a report by Agence de Press Africaine (APA), the Taiwanese men were identified as 54-year-old Hsiao Chen-hao and 30-year-old Chen Bei-hsun.

They were both sentenced to serve 29 years in prison for poaching and dehorning rhinoceros, and for the unlawful possession, trafficking and exporting of rhino horns, the report said.

The Taiwanese were also ordered to pay a fine of US$133,000 to replace the four rhinos they dehorned, it said.

(By Ku Chuan and Ko Lin)