Elephant tusk smugglers granted bail

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Maria Amakali

Windhoek-The two Chinese nationals, whose attempt to smuggle elephant tusks was foiled last year, were each granted bail of N$20 000 after a formal bail application in Windhoek Magistrate’s Court last Friday and now await the Prosecutor-General’s decision.

Xinxi Xue (47) and Ruhe Zhang (60) were on their way to the Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA) when the police at Kappsfarm roadblock arrested them for possessing ivory products and a seal skin elaborately concealed in coffee tins.

The elephant tusks were cut into pieces and concealed in instant coffee tins. Apart from the finished ivory products, one of the accused was found with a seal skin.

The duo allegedly attempted to bribe a police officer with N$4 200.
The two have made several appearances in court since their arrest in December 2016 on charges of contravening sections of the Controlled Wildlife Products and Trade Act and the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

During the formal bail application, the two provided a Nakara tax invoice for the seal skin, however, they could not explain the ivory found in their possession.

Public Prosecutor Joseph Andreas informed the court that investigations into the matter have been finalised and it is up to the Prosecutor-General to decide the fate of the two accused.

After being granted bail, court instructed the accused to surrender all travelling documents to the investigative officer and warned them not to leave Windhoek district.
The duo is expected to hear its fate on March 17.

In another related matter, Chinese national Zhi Geng (37), and Namibian national James Barron Wallace (47), who were found in possession of illegal wildlife products last year, are on March 7 expected to take the stand for plea, as stated in section 119 of the constitution.

According to police documents, the two were caught in possession of 1.5kg of rhino horn valued at N$91 000 without a permit authorising possession or dealing, possession of 94kg of abalone (perlemoen) valued at N$235 000 also without a valid permit. They wanted to smuggle the products from Namibia to Hong Kong when they got arrested.
The two have been out on bail of N$250 000 each.

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