Police in Lilongwe have arrested nine Chinese nationals and two Malawians in connection with possession of species of listed animals, firearms and dangerous drugs without a permit.
Police have confirmed the incident, saying they received a tip and instituted an investigation that led to the arrest of the 11 suspects.
The Chinese nationals have been identified as Hua Zhang Qin, 43, Yan Wu Zhuo, 37, Yan Shen Zhuo, 51, Li Hao Yuan, Jin Fu Zeng, 58 and Gou Zhong Zhang, 49.
Others are Guo Hua Zhang, 47, Shine He, 53 and Riang Cheng, 43 while their Malawian accomplices are Cosmas Sakugwa, 32 and Steven Daza, 35.
In an interview on Monday, Public Relations Officer for Central Region Police, Kingsley Dandaula said they received information that the suspects were dealing in illegal wildlife trade, firearms and dangerous drugs.
“Following the tip, detectives from Central Police Headquarters launched a man-hunt and managed to arrest Sakugwa and Daza on Monday, May 10, 2019 after being suspected to have found the black market for the Chinese nationals,” said Dandaula.
He said through further investigations, the police arrested the rest of the suspects.
Dandaula added: “Upon searching the suspects’ homes at areas 9, 3, 6, Lumbadzi and Kanengo in Lilongwe, officers found and confiscated different property worth millions of Kwacha.
He said at Area 9, they found pieces of rhino horns, pangolin scales, one pistol and ivory chop sticks.
“The suspects were also in possession of hippo teeth and dangerous drugs in Lumbadzi. At Kanengo, 213 live ammunitions and five pangolin scales were also discovered including six tortoises at area 6,” he said.
Meanwhile, the suspects are remanded at Maula Prison in the capital city pending court hearing.
Sakugwa and Daza hail from Dandi Village in Traditional Authority Kalumbu in Lilongwe and Chimvano Village, T.A. Makwangwala in Ntcheu respectively.