Four Chinese nationals who were caught fishing the endangered Cichlid fish (Mbuna) at Lake Malawi National Park have been convicted but they are not going to prison.
On Friday, the Mangochi Senior Resident Magistrate Court convicted the four of Entering into a protected area (Lake Malawi National Park) without a permit contrary to section 32(1) as read with section 108 of the National Parks and Wildlife Act and Being found in possession of specimen of endangered species (Mbuna fish) without licence, contrary to section 86(1) as read with section 110A(b) of the National Parks and Wildlife Act.
The court ordered the four to pay a fine of K250,000 each on first count and a fine of K12,000,000 (being the value of the fish) jointly.
Mangochi Senior Resident Magistrate Joshua Nkhono said the convicts will serve 36 months in jail if they failed to pay.
The four, however, paid the fine and walked to freedom. Two thirds of the fines (K8.7 Million) will be paid to Lake Malawi National Park for the promotion of conservation efforts.
The Chinese nationals are Jiang Hai aged 19, Hong Peng Don aged 38, Woo Zhuo, 40 and Chui Xu aged 51.
They were arrested in November this year after being found with a fish trap, a bucket containing live Mbuna fish and a plastic bag containing some dead fish.