Rhino case halted, no Mandarin interpreters

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Maria Amakali

Windhoek-A court has put the case of two Chinese nationals accused of illegal possession of rhino horns on hold because the available court interpreter lacked suficient mastery of Mandarin to translate.

The court postponed the case to Friday after it failed to find a Mandarin interpreter last week.

On Friday the interpreter, who appeared to have taken on more than he could chew, tried to use his cell phone in an effort to explain to the court what Nan Chen was saying during cross-examination.

Attorney Kadhila Amoomo, who represented Chen, told the court he could not take the risk of using the interpreter at the expense of his client, as the interpreter could not translate the instructions he received accurately.

Yanghui Lu (41) and Nan Chen (29) were found in possession of rhino horns estimated to have a value of N$400 000 last month. The horns found in their possession weighed 505kg.

The two appeared in court on charges of possession and dealing in illegal wildlife products.

The horns were allegedly discovered at the accused’s rented flat in Eros during a joint operation between the Namibian police and City Police. The police officers also discovered a poaching kit, rifles and ammunition alongside the rhino horns they found at the flat.

During their first appearance defence attorney for Chen, Amoomo, requested the state to provide evidence of the search warrant they presented to his client and his co accused on the day the police raid took place.

State prosecutor Rowan van Wyk has thus far strongly objected to granting the two accused bail, stating that they were a flight risk.

During cross-examinations last week, the two said that apart the from business operations they currently have in the country they did not have relatives residing in the country, which Van Wyk argued would make them hard to trace if they absconded.

The two accused are in the country on work visas. Chen who arrived in Namibia in 2001 informed the court he needed the court to grant him bail because his mass housing project in Katima Mulilo was now on hold due to his prolonged absence.

The court remanded the matter to Monday this week while the state pursues its efforts to find a Mandarin interpreter.

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