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Rhino horns seller gets 40 years

A Thai national has been sentenced to 40 years in prison by a South African court for selling rhino horns.

The magistrate handed down the sentence down to Chumlong Lemtongthai who had pleaded guilty to 59 charges.

The South African Revenue Service says Lemtongthai was arrested in 2010 with five other suspects.

Lemtongthai pleaded guilty to paying prostitutes who posed as hunters to harvest rhino horns, which were then sold on Asia's traditional medicine market.

South Africa is home to some 20,000 rhinos. Growing Asian demand for rhino horn is believed to be behind a surge in poaching.

At least 458 of South Africa's endangered rhinos have been illegally killed this year.

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