Tanzania court sentences Chinese ivory smuggler to 15 years in jail

Tanzania court sentences Chinese ivory smuggler to 15 years in jail

- A Chinese businesswoman has been charged with smuggling 860 pieces of ivory valued at KSh 561 million

- Yang Fenglan, popularly referred to as the "Ivory Queen" was arrested alongside two Tanzanian men

- The three will spend 15 years in jail with a possibility of two more years behind bars if they fail to pay twice the market value of the ivory they were arrested with

A Tanzanian court has sentenced a Chinese businesswoman to 15 years in jail after finding her guilty of ivory smuggling offences.

Yang Fenglan, 69, popularly referred to as the “Ivory Queen”, was charged with smuggling tusks of more than 350 elephants worth over KSh 500 million in 2015.

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Tanzania court sentences Chinese ivory smuggler to 15 years in jail

Yang Fenglan was charged in court in October 2015 for possessing tusks of over 350 elephants. Photo Credit: Elephant Action League.

In a report by the Al Jazeera on Wednesday, February 20, Yang was arraigned in court in October 2015 alongside two Tanzanian men for allegedly smuggling 860 pieces worth over KSh 561 million.

They denied accusations of smuggling ivory to Asia for several years.

Kisutu Court Magistrate Huruma Shaidi in a judgement delivered on Tuesday, February 19, found the three guilty of the offences.

Shaidi further ordered the three to pay twice the market value of the elephant tusks they were found with or face additional two years in jail.

Charge sheet details indicated Yang was in charge of organizing, managing and financing a racket which collected and transported the government trophies.

Tanzania court sentences Chinese ivory smuggler to 15 years in jail

Yang Fenglan a former Secretary General of Tanzania China-Africa Business Council will spend 15 years in Ukonga Prison. She has lived in Tanzania since 1970s. Photo: Kyakala.

The court’s decision was lauded by a section of conservationists who said it showed the government’s commitment to fight wildlife poaching.

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Other conservationists, however, criticized the sentence saying it did not match the atrocities Yang had committed by killing thousands of elephants.

Yang, 69, who has been living in Tanzania since the 1970s, will serve her sentence in Ukonga prison in Dar es Salaam. The convict was the secretary general of Tanzania China-Africa Business Council.

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Kenya has also been a victim of elephant poaching in the East African region.

Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) detectives arrested four Chinese nationals after finding them with elephant tusks, leopard skins and dog meat on Tuesday, January 8.

Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera, the notorious Mexican drug lord, who made wealth as the headman of famous Sinaloa cartel for years was found guilty of a 10-count charge brought against him by the United States (US) on Tuesday, February 12.

During the course of the 11-week trial, Guzman was found guilty and convicted of criminal charges relating to distribution of harmful drugs, illegal possession of arms, money laundering, and fostering criminal enterprises.

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