Two men – a South African and a Thailand national – were found guilty of unlawful possession of rhino horns by the Middelburg Regional Court, Mpumalanga police said on Friday.
John Olivier (51) and Kritsada Jangjumrus (40) were on Thursday found guilty under section 22 of the Mpumalanga Nature Conservation Act, Captain Leonard Hlathi said.
Olivier was fined R120 000 or four years’ imprisonment and Jangjumrus R80 000 or four years’ imprisonment.
On September 30, five suspects — Olivier, Jangjumrus, Sukana Naudea (31), Prompitak Chunvhom (42) and Tool Saiton (37) — approached a police officer wanting to buy three rhino horns.
“They met the police officer in the Delmas, Boskrog, area. They wanted to buy the three horns for $60 000 [about R500 000] from the police officer.
“Olivier said he wanted to buy them for Naudea as a gift,” said Hlathi.
After the deal was concluded, the police officer arrested the suspects, he said. The white Mazda Etude in which they were travelling was impounded. Police also impounded five cellphones and R2 000 in cash.
The case against Naudea, Chunvhom and Saiton was withdrawn. The $60 000 was forfeited to the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency, said Hlathi.