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Trafficker held over rhino slaughter at Harry Malawi wildlife park

Revealed: ‘Ivory trafficker’ arrested over endangered black rhinos slaughter at Malawi wildlife sanctuary Prince Harry will visit on Monday after dramatic police swoop finds haul of horns, hippo teeth and crocodile skins

  • Yunhua Lin, 46, was arrested in Malawi after spending three months on the run 
  • Crime boss was held after a police bust found stash of 103 black rhino horns
  • They come from endangered rhinos slaughtered at the Liwonde National Park
  • Prince Harry spent three weeks at the park in 2016 helping at risk elephants 
  • He will go back there on Monday as part of his 10-day tour of southern Africa 

A man accused of ivory trafficking faces jail over slaughter rhinos at a Malawian wildlife sanctuary where Prince Harry will visit on Monday.  

Yunhua Lin was arrested after a dramatic police swoop seized a haul of rhino horns, hippo teeth and crocodile skins.

The horns come from the endangered black rhinos butchered at the Liwonde National Park where the Duke of Sussex worked on one of the world’s biggest conservation projects. 

Harry spent three weeks at the 212-square mile park, in the south of the country, as part of a project to re-introduce 500 elephants in 2016.

He is due to visit Liwonde again on Monday as part of a 10-day Royal tour of Africa, his first overseas engagement with Meghan and their five-month-old son Archie.

Prince Harry spent three weeks in 2016 working at the Liwonde National Park in Malawi working on a conservation project to reintroduce 500 elephants into the sanctuary

The Duke of Sussex, pictured on a rhino mission in Malawi, will visit the park again on Monday as park of his 10-day tour of southern Africa with his wife Meghan and their baby son, Archie

Michelle Harper, of the African Conservation Foundation told MailOnline: ‘Harry will be horrified to learn that rhinos from the park where he spent three happy weeks have been slaughtered for their horns.

‘The Duke worked closely with authorities in the park three years ago when he helped move 500 elephants and so has a great affinity with all of the park’s animals.

As Prince Harry visits the park, Yunhua Lin (right) was arrested after a dramatic police swoop seized a haul of rhino horns, hippo teeth and crocodile skins

‘However he’ll be pleased that authorities in Malawi appear to be winning the fight not just against the poachers but also the traffickers responsible for ultimately driving the demand for ivory and the killing on the ground.’ 

Crime boss Lin, 46, described by the Malawi Government as a ‘notorious ivory kingpin’, was targeted in coordinated police raids across six properties in May. 

He initially escaped and went on the run for three months before eventually being tracked down in Liwonde and arrested in August.  

Lin, known as Lee ‘Fingers’ because he is missing three digits on his left hand, is currently in jail on remand and is expected to appear in court on October 8.

He is charged with illegal possession of listed species and dealing in Government trophies contrary to the National Parks and Wildlife Act.

His gang also face charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

Among those arrested during the police raids in May were Lin’s wife Qin Hua Zhang, 42, and son-in-law Li Hao Yaun, 28.

Michelle Harper, of the African Conservation Foundation said Harry, pictured on the 2016 project, will be ‘horrified’ to learn that rhinos from the park have been killed for their horns

Harry joked he and a few others were ‘trying to tip an elephant’ as he worked in Malawi to move 500 of the magnificent animals over 350kms across from Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve 

At the time both were on bail for separate trafficking offences that they were finally convicted of this week.

Zhang and Yaun were arrested with two Malawians in December 2017 at a farm in the Malawian capital of Lilongwe.

They were found with ten pieces of ivory – weighing 21 kilograms – alongside illicit drugs, and crocodile skins.

The gang were convicted of illegal possession of, and dealing in, a listed species at the magistrates court in Lilongwe on Tuesday. They could be jailed for 30 years.

Mary Rice, Executive Director from the Environment Investigations Agency said, ‘I am delighted to see the Government of Malawi making such progress in its fight against organised wildlife crime.

‘Malawi was recently identified as Southern Africa’s principle transit and distribution hub for wildlife traffickers, and subsequent successes such as this are attracting positive interest and praise from the international community.

‘We shall be watching the progress of these cases with great interest.’

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