Rhino horn trafficker’s salon used for human trafficking
The Mbombela nail salon and spa of the rhino horn trafficker Jianguang Guan who called David Mahlobo his “friend”, was investigated by the Hawks as a brothel that served as a centre for human trafficking.
15 hours ago
MBOMBELA – It was business as usual tonight at the Jin Lu Chinese Beauty and Massage Salon in Sonpark even though the salon’s windows were covered with newspapers and sign that said “Decorating.”
When Lowvelder knocked on the door it was opened by a nail therapist. There were two customers sitting at the nail-therapy tables and two more therapists doing gel applications.
Mr Hangwane Mulaudzi, spokesman for the Hawks, confirmed to Lowvelder tonight that the Hawks had uncovered after a thorough investigation that this nail-and-massage salon is a front for a brothel from where human trafficking in the area is driven.
The Jin Lu Salon doing business as usual behind covered windows.
The salon became infamous after a Chinese rhino-horn trafficker, Mr Jianguang Guan, who has been in South Africa for 10 years, confessed during an Al Jazeera documentary, The Poachers’ Pipeline, that he is a rhino-horn trafficker.
He also alleged that the minister of state security, Mr David Mahlobo, a former Mpumalanga politician, was a friend of his.
Mahlobo confirmed that he had visited the salon on occasion, but denied that he was friends with the salon owner even though Guan bragged with pictures of them together in the salon on screen.
Also with Mahlobo on various photographs was one of the nail therapists at the salon, Ms Chelsea Wei.She has recently forwarded a gift of a Chinese tea set to a former client in Mbombela – posted all the way from Beijing.
During December the salon was raided by Home Affairs and the nail therapists were allegedly deported to China because their work permits were not in order. They had apparently been registered as wood carvers.
Lowvelder tried to confirm this with the local area manager of Home Affairs today, but was given no answers.
Mulaudzi said Guan is nowhere to be found in South Africa, but there was no sign of him skipping the country with his passport.
Home affairs closed down the Jin Lu Salon of Jianguang Guan in Mbombela on November 24.
Home Affairs closed down the Jin Lu Salon of Jianguang Guan in Mbombela on November 24.
“We are very angry and disappointed with Al Jazeera,” said Mulaudzi. He explained that when they had heard a documentary was on the cards they asked the channel not to go ahead as they were far into their investigations with Guan and rhino-horn poaching. “The programme impacted our investigation very badly. They were just selling a product while we were dealing with serious criminals.”
Guan is also believed to have owned the Shuang Xi Sushi Restaurant in Sonpark which was quite busy tonight with the sushi chef slicing away.
Mulaudzi said earlier reports that the Hawks was seeking advice from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to go ahead with an inquiry into Mahlobo’s alleged involvement in poaching was simply not true. “No docket was opened because there is no element of crime.”
Mr Luvuyo Mfako of the NPA confirmed that they had not received a docket from the Hawks on the minister. “The NPA is not involved,” he said.
Mulaudzi confirmed that the minister is going ahead with laying charges of libel and defamation against Al Jazeera.
Owner of the Sonpark Business Complex, Mr Kobus Jacobs, told the newspaper earlier today that he had signed a new lease from February onwards with a woman, who used to work close to Guan in all his businesses, for both the sushi restaurant and salon premises.
The salon manager is a South African citizen of Chinese descent. She is not married to Guan and has a different surname.
“They pay regularly,” Jacobs said.
The other salon branch at Khayalami Boutique Hotel was closed, according to the hotel spokesman.http://lowvelder.co.za/369815/rhino-hor ... afficking/