Two Chinese nationals were detained yesterday after they allegedly attempted to smuggle elephant tusks that were cut into small pieces and stuffed into instant coffee tins.
The two suspects were on their way to Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA). HKIA was recently in the news after another Chinese national was caught with 18 rhino horns worth almost N$7 million by the Hawks in South Africa after he was let through though the airport scanners in Namibia had detected the illegal exports.
According to Namibian Police Force spokesperson, Deputy Commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi, the elephant tusks were cut into pieces and concealed in instant coffee tins. The elephant tusks were detected by police officers manning a roadblock at Kapps farm on the way to HKIA.
Alert police officers on duty at the roadblock allegedly noticed something unusual with the coffee tins. The two suspects were apprehended between 12h00 and 14h00 and they are expected to make their first appearance in court today or tomorrow.
Kanguatjivi informed New Era that investigations into the matter continue. It is not yet clear if the two were scheduled to board a flight at the airport.
In an article that appeared in a local daily on November 28, Muyunda was quoted saying that 69 elephants have been killed this year alone, mainly in the Zambezi and Kavango East regions.
Last month, a Chinese national was caught in possession of rhino horns at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa. It is alleged 28-year-old Zhiwei Ye was allowed through at HKIA, enroute to Hong Kong via Johannesburg, even after rhino horns were detected in his luggage, which raised speculation he might have greased someone’s hands to let him through.