Swaziland jails two Taiwanese for 29 years for poaching

Staff writer, with CNA

Wed, Nov 15, 2017 - Page 4

Two Taiwanese men have been sentenced to 29 years each by the High Court of Swaziland for poaching and dehorning rhinos in the southern African country, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said on Monday.

The men were caught with 24 rhino horns at an international airport in Swaziland on Feb. 25 as they were trying to board a plane to Taiwan, ministry spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) said by telephone.

They were arrested on charges of unlawful possession of rhino horns and imprisoned awaiting further investigation, he said.

Officials from Taiwan’s embassy have visited the men several times to provide them with daily necessities, such as snacks and telephone cards so they could remain in contact with their families back home, Lee added.

Embassy officials were also present at the court hearings to stay up to date on the case to inform the men’s families, Lee said.

The ministry once again called on Taiwanese to abide by the laws in their host nations while traveling, and to refrain from engaging in illegal activities and tarnishing Taiwan’s reputation, he said.

Agence de Presse Africaine identified the men as 54-year-old Hsiao Chen-hao and 30-year-old Chen Bei-hsun.

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