The Hawks’ South African Serious Organised Crime unit dealt a blow to the rhino trade on Friday when it intercepted a major horn consignment destined for Malaysia, coming just two days after the SA National Parks (SANParks) arrested a high profile poaching suspect who was a former SANParks ranger.
R38 million worth of rhino horns were intercepted and seized by the Serious Organised Investigation team at a warehouse in Kempton Park.
The horns were stashed in wine crates, and the consignment was destined for Malaysia.
No arrests have been made as yet, investigations are underway.
Meanwhile on Wednesday, a former SANParks employee was arrested on poaching charges in what SANParks described as a “significant breakthrough in the fight against rhino poaching”.
The suspect is a high profile individual – a former Corporal in the Rangers Services who was dismissed in 2014, after a disciplinary process on unrelated charges.
A high caliber hunting rifle, ammunition and poaching equipment was recovered on the scene, said SANParks in a statement. He was arrested alongside his accomplice, another poaching suspect.
The arrests took place in the Tshokwane Section in an intelligence driven anti-poaching operation.
The Kruger’s Managing Executive revealed: “We have been after this particular individual for some time now, and we are happy that he has been captured and we will wait for the law to take its course.
“We call on the justice system to consider the severe damage that is being done by criminals, not only to the sustainability of our rhino populations but also the long term threat to the tourism industry of this country and mete out harsh sentences.”
The suspects will appear in court as soon as charges have been formally filed.
In another operation on Thursday, 02 May 2019, Malelane Rangers, supported by the KNP K9 Unit and the Airwing made contact with two suspected poachers in a follow up operation. The two suspects were arrested and a heavy caliber hunting rifle, ammunition and poaching equipment were recovered at the scene.