Senior resident magistrate court sitting in Mangochi district on friday has convicted and sentenced four chinese nationals to thirteen million kwacha (K13,000,000) fine in default 54 months imprisonment with hard labour for entering into protected area namely Lake Malawi National Park and found in possession of endangered species namely Cilid fish commonly known as Mbuna.
The four chinese nationals are:
(1) Hong Peng (37)
(2) Wu Zhoa (39)
(3) Hai Jeing (28)
(4) Cui Xu (51)
Mangochi police public relations officer Rodrick Maida said court heard through Haiter Chafukana senior assistant commissioner of police that these four chinese nationals lodged at Cape Maclear in which on November 17, 2019 during daytime they jointly netted out of the lake over 200 live cilid fish before putting them in a bucket of water ready to be transfered to Blantyre.
“Appearing before court all four chinese nationals pleaded not guilty to the offence levelled against them which prompted state to parade three witnesses who testified beyond any reasonable doubt making court to find them guilty,”
“In mitigation all four chinese nationals asked court for leniency saying they are breadwinners of their respective families,” Maida said.
In submission state asked court to usher stiff penalty saying the conduct of these chinese nationals defeats protection of species which is a core function of national parks.
Passing sentence senior resident magistrate Joshua Nkhono concurred with state hence they were slapped with first count K250,000 fine each in default 18 months imprisonment with hard labour and second count K3,000,000 fine each in default 36 months imprisonment with hard labour.