A Chinese national believed to be the ‘kingpin’ in Namibia’s biggest rhino-horn smuggling cases was denied bail when he appeared in the Katutura Magistrate’s Court yesterday.
Wang Hui (40) will remain in custody until June 25 after he was denied bail and ordered to remain at the correctional facility when he made his second court appearance in Katutura.
His case was also transferred from the magistrate’s court to the regional court and he is scheduled to make his next court appearance on June 25, 2015.
Joining him will be three Chinese men, who were in 2014 caught with 14 rhino horns worth more than N$2.3 million, as well as a leopard skin valued at N$50 000 stashed in their luggage while they were on their way to Hong Kong via Johannesburg, South Africa.
The trio now in custody at the Windhoek Correctional Facility are Li Xiaoliang (30), Li Zhibing (53), and 49-year-old Pu Xuexin. They were denied bail in the Katutura Magistrate’s Court and their matter was remanded to June 25 for plea and trial.
The three have been in custody since their arrest last year and were also denied bail in May last year. During the bail hearing, the court heard that they travelled the same day and their visa numbers followed each other.
The court also heard that they did not pay for their own accommodation during their stay in Namibia.
During the bail hearing, Xiaoliang said he was not aware of the contents of the suitcase found in his possession.
The Namibian Sun daily newspaper reported that Wang was arrested in May this year at the Windhoek Country Club Resort and Casino.
He faces charges of illegal possession and export of controlled wildlife products.
Wang is allegedly linked to the three Chinese men, who were arrested with 14 rhino horns at the Hosea Kutako International Airport last year.
Last year, the three men gave evidence during their formal bail hearing that they would stay at Wang’s home in the central town of Otjiwarongo if they were released on bail.
Wang is also being investigated in connection with other poaching cases in Namibia.
He has apparently been travelling between China and Namibia regularly, and when the investigating officers learnt that he was back in the country, they tracked him down to the Windhoek Country Club Resort and Casino in May this year where he was gambling.
Wang is originally from Jang Su in China.
Orben Sibeya appeared on behalf of Wang while Anthony Wilson represented the State.