MBABANE – The two Taiwanese poachers have been ordered to replace the four rhinos they dehorned by paying a sum of E160 000.
This translates to E40 000 per rhino. On top of replacing the rhinos or compensating the owners of the animals, Hsiao Chen Hao (54) and Chen Bei-Hsun (30) have been slapped with sentences of 29 years imprisonment each.
They were convicted of contravening the Game Act of 1953, in that they were found in possession of 24 pieces of rhino horn worth about E29 million at King Mswati III International Airport on February 25, 2017 en route to Taiwan. They were charged with unlawful possession, trading or trafficking the rhino horn and exporting it. For unlawful possession, they were sentenced to nine years imprisonment each and 11 years for trading and trafficking the horn pieces.
Judge John Magagula further sentenced them to a period of nine years for exporting the trophies of rhino horn. The judge ordered that these sentences should run concurrently, meaning that each of the convicts will serve a prison term of 11 years. If they fail to compensate the owners of the rhinos, they will serve an additional sentence of four years each, bringing the total to 15 years.
of the rhinos were poached in the Republic of South Africa while the
fourth one was dehorned in Swaziland. Their sentences have been
backdated to February 25, 2017, which is the date on which they were
When the convicts appeared in court for sentencing, they were without an attorney.
This was after their lawyer Osbourne Nzima withdrew his services. After they were convicted, the pair filed an urgent application seeking an order that their trial should start afresh.