Taiwan negotiating with eSwatini to extradite Taiwanese rhino poachers

The two prisoners were arrested in 2017 attempting to traffic rhino horns out of the African kingdom

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File photo: a dehorned Rhino

File photo: a dehorned Rhino (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Taiwanese Embassy in eSwatini is reportedly in talks with the kingdom over the transfer of two Taiwanese rhino poachers who were arrested in 2017 in the African nation.

The two prisoners, 54 year old Hsiao Chen Hao and 30 year old Chen Bei-Hsun were sentenced to 29 years for the poaching and killing of four rhinoceroses, and attempting to traffic 24 rhino horns out of the country, worth an estimated value of US$2 million.

They were arrested on Feb. 25, 2017 at the King Mswati III International Airport as they were attempting to return to Taiwan. They were convicted and sentenced by the courts in November, 2017.

The original sentence of 29 years included sentences for multiple charges, but the judge ruled that the jail terms could be served concurrently over an 11 year period.

They are also expected to repay the game reserves where they poached the animals for their losses, which amount to approximately US$13,300 according to APA news.

Julian Teh-Hsin Wu, a Taiwanese official in eSwatini, also known as Swaziland, has reportedly sent a letter to the kingdom’s high court inquiring about procedures to begin the transfer of the two prisoners, according to a local media report.

The kingdom of eSwatini is one of Taiwan’s official diplomatic allies, and the only one country in Africa which maintains state to state relations with Taiwan.