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

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’s diplomats smuggled rhino horn

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Killing for Profit shortlisted for South Africa’s prestigious Alan Paton Award

Killing for Profit was shortlisted for South Africa’s most prestigious literary prize for non-fiction, the Alan Paton Award. The book was one of five books that were chosen from an initial longlist of 42 titles. The judges described the book as “thoroughly entertaining and rich in detail and context” and said that all the entries […]

Update: Marnus Steyl case

Game farmer Marnus Steyl, who was linked to the notorious Xaysavang rhino horn smuggling syndicate,  initially stood trial alongside Thai national Chumlong Lemtongthai and a number of other accused including professional hunter Harry Claassens. The charges against Steyl and the others were withdrawn in November 2012 after Chumlong pleaded guilty and exonerated his co-accused in a plea […]

Vietnam in denial, blames China for rhino slaughter

By Julian Rademeyer Bangkok, Thailand – The head of Vietnam’s wildlife trade authority has angrily dismissed accusations that his country is the driving force behind the illicit trade in rhino horn, describing them as “bullshit”. He went on to blame China for the slaughter. In a rare interview during the triennial conference of parties to […]