Dodgy diplomats, poachers, spies and the illicit rhino horn trade

Gulit Chu arrest

More than six thousand rhinos have fallen to poachers’ bullets in Africa over the past decade and only about 25,000 remain – a fraction of the tens of thousands that roamed parts of the continent fifty years ago. Dozens more have been shot in so-called “pseudo-hunts”. Across Europe, castles and museums have been raided by […]

North Korea, rhino horn and dodgy diplomats

Scene of the Crime - The North Korean embassy in Pretoria, South Africa. Photo: Julian Rademeyer

By Julian Rademeyer Pretoria – A high-ranking North Korean diplomat accused of abusing his diplomatic immunity and his embassy’s diplomatic bag to smuggle rhino horn out of South Africa has been expelled from the country. News24 has learnt that Park Chol-jun – also identified in some news reports as Pak Chol Chun – quietly left […]

United States Indicts Dawie Groenewald

Alleged rhino horn trafficking syndicate boss Dawie Groenewald. Photo: Julian Rademeyer

By Julian Rademeyer Dawie Groenewald, a notorious South African game farmer and alleged “rhino horn syndicate kingpin”, has been indicted by United States prosecutors on charges relating to illegal rhino hunts. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced that Groenewald, 46, and his younger brother Janneman, 44, have been charged with “conspiracy to sell illegal […]

Julian Rademeyer wins prestigious conservation award

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Julian Rademeyer has won the prestigious Marjan-Marsh Award, bestowed by the Marjan Centre for the Study of Conflict and Conservation in the Department of War Studies at King’s College, London, for his book Killing for Profit: Exposing the Illegal Rhino Horn Trade. The Marjan-Marsh Award is given annually to someone who has made an invaluable contribution […]

Rhino syndicate ‘ringleader’ arrested

A file photograph of Hugo Ras taken in April 2012. Photo: Julian Rademeyer

By Julian Rademeyer I first met Hugo Ras in April 2012 in the corridor of the Pretoria North Regional Court. I’d heard the dark tales that swirled around him and stories about the numerous run-ins he’d had with the law. But, as he boasted, few of the cases ever stuck. Now, more than two-and-half years […]

China and the rhino horn trade

Li Zhifei in a still from a US Fish and Wildlife Service surveillance vieo

By Julian Rademeyer Li Zhifei was the unlikely leader of an international crime ring. According to his business card, Li owned a small antique business in Jinan, the capital of China’s Shandong province. It was called “Overseas Treasure Finding” and Li was its treasure hunter. He boasted a small, but exclusive clientele of wealthy men […]

The untouchable wildlife crime kingpin

Wildlife crime kingpin Vixay Keosavang (left) and his lieutenant Chumlong Lemtongthai (right).

By Julian Rademeyer Vixay Keosavang is one of the most ruthless and prolific wildlife criminals operating in South-East Asia today. Some call him the “Pablo Escobar of animal trafficking”. Others describe him as the “Mr Big” of wildlife crime in Laos, the tiny one-party communist state bordered by Myanmar, China, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam that continues […]