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Doggy ‘Chinese investors’ implicated in Malawi’s wildlife crimes as Beijing denies influence – The Maravi Post

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By Madalitso Wills Kateta

The call only took ten minutes before an agreement was made to meet at a Lodge in Lilongwe, Malawi’s capital city. Pausing as villagers in possession of a pangolin, we offered to sell the animal to our target, a Chinese national whom we had been told is involved in the wildlife black market.

But before the deal was struck, Andy, as we are going to call the Chinese national, abruptly pulled out. 

A few days later, the courts sentenced two Malawian and nine Chinese nationals including Lin Yunhua, leader of southern Africa’s notorious ‘Lin-Zhang Gang’ to 14-years imprisonment for possession of rhino horns. 

The ‘Lin-Zhang Gang’ is a prolific wildlife trafficking syndicate that has been operating for over a decade. Our investigations reveal that members of the syndicate who are mostly Chinese have been operating in Malawi under the guise of running legal businesses.

The Centre for Investigative Journalism Malawi (CIJM) also found out that the syndicate is also linked to drugs, arms trafficking, and money laundering. It depends on non-suspecting local operatives to smuggle illicit materials out of the country.

Mostly sourced from the eastern part of southern Malawi, the pangolins are usually trafficked by local unsuspecting villagers in either maize sacks or traveling bags. These locals who do not have any direct link to the syndicate members later pass the live Pangolin to a local operative who has direct link to the Syndicate.

“I don’t know what you are talking about, I don’t buy or sell any wild animals,” Andy told CIJM over the phone during our last conversation and since after the last discussion his line could not be reached anymore. 

A background check on Andy revealed that he had been running a martial arts school for almost a year though it had not registered any student.

While CIJM’s investigation did not establish that Andy is not part of the gang, its sources disclosed in detail how Andy has been regularly traveling to the Mangochi and Machinga districts in Southern Malawi which have recently become an epicenter of Pangolins trade.

According to Data  from the Lilongwe Wildlife Trust (LWT), Pangolin related crimes have tripled since 2019 and attributes this to an increase in trafficking despite strong enforcement of the law.

Malawi is failing to tame environmental crimes despite stiff laws and penalties

According to Amina Daudi Tepani, Mangochi Police Public Relations Officer, most of the people that have been caught with live and dead Pangolins claim that the animals are supplied by their counterparts in Mozambique.

“Most of the people that we have arrested on Pangolin trafficking are Malawians who claim to have sourced the animals from Mozambique,” said Tepani.

Recently the Police in Mangochi arrested two Pangolin traffickers   Witness Salikonde,49 and Rashid White Jusa, 55 for possession dead Pangolins contrary to section 110(b) of National Parks and Wild life Act, the two claimed to be traveling with the animals to an unspecified market in Lilongwe.

When CIJM visited Andy’s school, located in the premises of one popular lodge in the capital, we learned that the school had since been closed and the owner had shifted his line of business into agro-business.

However, sources familiar with the school and its owner told CIJM that the school was just a smokescreen for the underground environmental dealings including buying ivory, rhino horns, and precious stones which the owner has been engaged in.

One of CIJM’s sources whom we are just going to call Isiah told us that the Chinese national has been dealing in several environmental products including precious stones and he was very positive that he was also involved in some wildlife dealings. 

“The school has been operational since 2018, but it has at no single time enrolled students, raising questions on how the owner manages to pay for the premise’s rentals as well as survive,” the source said.

Malawi has recently been the hub of international wildlife crimes driven by a syndicate of some Chinese and Malawian nationals in the sub-Saharan African region. 

According to court records a total of 14 members of the wildlife trafficking syndicate-11 Chinese and 3 Malawians have, since 2019, been sent to Malawian prisons on different wildlife and environmental crimes including ivory, rhino horn trafficking.

Recently, live pangolins and pangolin scales have become a common feature of Malawi’s illegal wildlife trade. 

As the Chinese connection in Malawi’s rising wildlife crimes continues to escalate, the Chinese embassy in Lilongwe says China strongly opposes wildlife crimes.  

Rhino poached at a Game Reserve in Botswana discovered on May 8, 2021

Lu Chang, spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in Malawi said China condemns linking the misconduct of individual Chinese nationals in Africa to China as a country.

“Wildlife crimes are common in Africa. China believes that ‘killing animals for cash’ and ‘killing for fun’ are equally environmental crimes, animals such as lions, elephants, and other animal species are being hunted across Africa,” Chang said.

According to our investigations, the Chinese government has been supporting initiatives aimed at curbing illegal wildlife trade in Malawi and other African countries

For instance, in 2013, China and South Africa signed a memorandum of understanding to protect wildlife.

Since 2014, China has provided financial support to countries such as Kenya and Tanzania for wildlife conservation. 

This year, the China-Zimbabwe Wildlife Conservation Foundation is now rescuing drought-affected wildlife in the National Park of Zimbabwe.

 China National Forestry and Grassland Administration, together with the General Administration of Customs, visited Malawi, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zambia, Uganda, Ethiopia, and other African countries to hold seminars with the theme of endangered species conservation, calling on the public to stay away from the illegal trade of ivory and other wildlife products.

According to available data, illegal wildlife trade is one of the most profitable criminal enterprises with the United Nations estimates that globally the trade is worth between $7 billion and $23 billion a year.

Despite this commitment to protecting Africa’s wildlife, China has been portrayed by the media as a catalyst to the souring wildlife crimes.

A 2019 article titled ‘African Wildlife Conservation – China’s Actions Speak Louder Than Words’, observes that it is not only the Chinese that are involved in wildlife crimes. The article observes that some western hunters have also been involved in wildlife crimes but their activities have not attracted media attention.

While there has been a 44 percent decline in wildlife species around the world in the past four decades as a result of poaching and illegal wildlife trade, the paper observes that Africa which is most abundant in wildlife continues to face a decrease in wildlife species and calls for shared responsibility to safeguard the continent’s wildlife.

“All countries and international organizations engaged in exchanges and cooperation with African countries should, from the perspective of safeguarding Africa’s sound natural environment and sustainable development, earnestly shoulder their responsibilities and fulfill their obligations by strengthening international cooperation on African wildlife conservation,” reads part of the report.

Our investigations indicate that the situation has been made worse by corrupt elements within the law enforcement agencies who have been aiding the criminals to externalize wildlife products like ivory, rhino horn, pangolin scales, and in extreme cases live pangolins to China and other countries. 

According data from the Malawi Police and the Department of Parks and Wildlife, there has been a rise in Pangolin trafficking cases as compared to Ivory and Rhino Horn trafficking crimes. Of the 212 wildlife crimes registered between August 2017 and July 2021, 32 were in relation to Pangolin trade.

While there has been a downward trend in Ivory and Rhino Horn trafficking, the arrest of a Gambian national Sainy Jagne by Thai customs authorities in March 2017 exposed the extensive links enjoyed by wildlife gangs and environmental criminals. Jagne was caught with 422 pieces of ivory weighing 330 kilograms valued at U$480,000.00. The 330 kg of elephant ivory was seized in Bangkok in March 2017 and seven accused persons have since been arrested concerning this seizure. 

While our investigation indicates that Malawi is attractive to wildlife criminals because it has always been considered a low-risk location for the gangs, Brighton Kumchedwa, Director of the Department of Parks and Wildlife, says this is no longer the case. 

Kumchedwa says the amendment of the country’s wildlife legislation in 2017 and change in strategy in the investigation of wildlife crimes has strengthened Malawi’s position in the fight against wildlife crimes. 

“Following the change of strategy in investigations of wildlife crimes, Malawi is no longer a hub for environmental gangs, however, we don’t want to just create a shift we want to decisively deal with wildlife crime through corroborations with other players in the region,” says Kumchedwa. 

The result of this shift in strategy according to Police and Court records has been successful with a conviction rate of around 90 percent of people arrested for wildlife crimes since 2017. 

According to, James Kadadzera Spokesperson of the Malawi Police Service, the Police have also heightened their efforts in cracking wildlife crime and they are closely working with the Department of Parks and Wildlife in the effort.

Mary Rice Executive Director of London-based Environmental Investigation Agency the crackdown on nine members of the Ling-Zang syndicate following countless obstacles is a demonstration of Malawi’s political will and determination to fight wildlife crimes.

“Fighting crime on this scale demands sophistication corroboration courage and tenacity. Malawi should be immensely proud and other African countries battling the scourge of illegal wildlife trade would do well to follow this example of global leadership,’’ said Rice in a statement.               

Meanwhile, as more individual Chinese continue to be arrested in connection with environmental and wildlife crimes, there is a need to draw a thin line between China and the wildlife criminals that are tarnishing the good image of China, a good neighbor who is committed to conserving Africa’s wildlife.   

The Centre for Investigative Journalism Malawi (CIJM) – www.investigative-malawi.org – and the Africa China Reporting Project – https://wits.journalism.co.za/africa-china-reporting/, supported this article.

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Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Court Sentences Ousted Leader To Four Year Jail Term

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Once again, Myanmar Leader Aung San Suu Kyi is remaining the subject of discussion among the people as soon as her arresting news occupied the entire social media. Now everyone is paying attention that what is the cause of her four years sentence behind the bars. Approximately 11 charges have been registered on her made due to which, she has been detained by the concerned department but she is denying to accept her flaws, it includes encouraging dissent and breaking the protocols of the novel virus has taken a new variant in the country and spreading massively.

Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar's Leader Sentenced To Four Years Jail Term

As per the exclusive reports, Aung San Sunn Kyi has been taken into custody under section 505 (B) along with two years imprisonment under Natural Disaster Law. Previous to this, she has faced house arresting since February 2021, but now again she came into the limelight while breaking the protocols of the novel virus because of which, she has been sent behind the bars for around 6 years. On this day, the co-defendant & ex-president and National League for Democracy “Win Myint” also had been detained by the concerned department for some exploits, but this time Aung San Suu Kyi hit the headlines all over the internet sites.

Aung San Suu Kyi Sentenced To Jail By Myanmar Court

If the recent reports are to be considered, So the Myanmar Leader has been charged included corruption and violating the official acts. During the investigation, some unknown facts came to the fore related to Aung Saan Suu Kyi as she was involved in the electoral fraud last year. Although the election commission later said that everything had been sorted out and elections were fair enough, nothing has happened, and if some flaws were reported so they have been removed by the concerned authority. But just in a small time period she again came into the limelight due to such exploit.

It is being said that she is struggling so they should make everyone aware of her recent circumstances, even the newly established National Unity Government’s spokesperson said, that the Leader who was recently detained is not well enough as she has ordered to face her sentence regarding the 104 days now. Meanwhile, he said that everyone who is involved in the investigations wants her to die behind the bars. These pieces of details have been derived from the other sources, so whenever we will get more we will update you for sure so stay connected with us.

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Bill Staines Cause Of Death: How Did ‘Giant Of The Folk Music’ Bill Staines Die?

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A piece of news has brought a flood of wishes on social media after it came into view that the legendary American musician Bill Staines has died at the age of 74. The sad news has wet millions of eyes and everyone is now delivering tributes on social media where everyone across the globe is showing their love and respect towards the personality. Well, no doubt this is one of the saddest news of the day for those who are fond of listening to American folk music.

Bill Staines Cause Of Death: How Did 'Giant Of The Folk Music' Bill Staines Die?

Born on February 6, 1947, in Medford, Massachusetts, United States the famous American folk musician and singer-songwriter from New Hampshire, wrote and performed songs with a wide array of subjects has left the world suddenly on the 5th of December 2021 at the age of 74. Undoubtedly, the sudden demise of musicians has left millions of people grieving. Today, when he is not on the earth people, are delivering tributes on social media keeping his folk songs in their minds and cells.

Who Was Bill Staines?

There is no doubt that he will be missed always because the way he used to play with guitar and slew his listeners is not a cup of tea for so many singers even now, after all, he used to re-present American folk music that seems to disappear nowadays. However, his every single song used to force people to groove and vibe on his songs but when it comes to talking about the main point when the scene was turned by him was when he started tour nationwide in 1975 and then he got an immense popularity post which people started to chant his name whenever some talks took place about folk music of America.

In his life, Bill Staines recorded more than 30 songs along with 10 mind-blowing music albums that are except for his discography so as per this record you can take the idea about the work he has done before leaving the planet. Many of the big celebs and musicians are delivering tributes on his death and millions of people across the nation are mourning his death.

Our deepest condolences are with his family and fans as well, may his soul rest in peace. No doubt he will be missed and his songs will not let him die because you must have heard that line which says that art never dies and the same thing is happening today because only he left the world but his songs will keep forcing people to get slew.

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Who Is Vivalabadchick Aka Katt Leya? Why Is She Trending? Check Instagram Bio Age

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Amidst so many trending names a name has been circulating on the internet and undoubtedly netizens are getting keen to know about her real name Instagram account and some other HD viral videos. Well, you must be in the swim about the name that we are talking about the very adorable lady who online goes by Vivalabadchick and is also known as Katt Leya, at this moment you must think that you have the name so you can easily find her but let us let you know that it is not the reality.

Who Is Vivalabadchick Aka Katt Leya? Why Is She Trending? Check Instagram Bio Age

Well, the lady named Vivalabadchick online is one of the famous Instagram influencers who recently got immense popularity on the internet. So, shooting your excitement down we would love to tell you that she goes online on IG by username @Vivalbadchick where her name is trillionaire heiress. However, by this name, you will find 4 IG accounts but her real account is not public so if you press the follow button so you would have to wait to see her pics on her official account but some of the pics are available on her other fake accounts where you can see the glimpse of her.

Who Is Vivalabadchick Aka Katt Leya?

As her account is private so you must think that she won’t have a huge fan base but you will be shocked to know that she is having more than 49k followers on her IG. However, you must say for once that what is the big deal in it like if she is having a huge fan base so why she is grabbing the headlines after all there are so many people on social media who are having a huge fan following, so just to shooting your curiosity down we would like to tell you that she having more than 49k followers on IG just by her 92 posts and it makes a huge deal and when it comes to talking about her twitter so there she is having more than 80.4k followers and that too when she does not follow any single one.

If you hardly use Instagram and love to scroll on Twitter so she is also available there and there she goes by Katt Leya where she shares her other stories. Well, before you get keener to know about her we are sad to tell you one thing that no more updates are available on social media about her but as you all know that we jump the gun just to keep you updated so there is no need to be worried because we will let you know about her and that in brief soon but for that, all you have to do is keep patience and hold your horses, so just stay tuned with us to catch all the latest updates on her.

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