Rhino syndicate ‘ringleader’ arrested

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

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

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 […]

‘Groenewald gang’ trial postponed (again)

By Julian Rademeyer UPDATED: 23 September 2016 – The trial of Dawie Groenewald, a notorious South African game farmer and alleged “rhino horn syndicate kingpin”, has been set down for 15 June 2017. It has been six years since various suspects linked to the so-called “Groenewald gang” were arrested in highly-publicised police raids. The case has […]

Black market ivory: N’bouke jailed

By Julian Rademeyer Emile N’bouke – the ivory carver and shopkeeper referred to as “The Boss” or “Le Patron” by illegal ivory dealers in Togo’s capital Lomé –  has been jailed for 15 months and ordered to pay a fine of US$10,300. The maximum prison sentence allowed for under Togolose law for ivory trafficking  is […]

Apocalypse Rhinoceros

Punpitak Chunchom, a member of a Laos-based wildlife smuggling syndicate poses with rhino horns taken in pseudo-hunts.

By Julian Rademeyer It is a sound you never forget. Perhaps because it is so unexpected in an animal weighing two tons: a piercing, unearthly keen, like a child crying out in pain. It is hard to describe and even harder to endure. The first time I heard it, I was in a cramped office […]

US$1-million bounty for wildlife crime syndicate exposed in Killing for Profit

By Julian Rademeyer The United States government has announced a $1-million reward for information “leading to the dismantling” of a key wildlife crime network exposed in Killing for Profit. It is the first reward of its kind ever offered by the US government. In a statement issued on 13 November 2013, US Secretary of State […]