via Chinese man caught smuggling ivory from Zimbabwe – Telegraph by Peta Thornycroft 25 Oct 2013
More than 200 pounds of raw ivory found in luggage of Chinese man at airport in Zimbabwe capital, weeks after elephants were poisoned with cyanide by poachers
A Chinese citizen was remanded in custody after being arrested at Harare International Airport when customs officials found 17 pieces of raw ivory in his luggage.
Chen Guoliang, 36, temporarily resident in Zimbabwe was accused in the Harare Magistrate’s Court on Thursday of contravening the Parks and Wildlife Act, after being found in illegal possession of 218lbs of fresh ivory packed in boxes and security wrapped in plastic and checked in as his luggage for his flight to China.
Harare magistrate Don Ndirowei heard that customs officers noticed unusual items when they scanned his luggage and he was arrested after admitting he had no permit to export the tusks.
His case was remanded until November 4.
Caroline Washaya-Moyo, public relations officer for Zimbabwe’s National Parks and Wildlife Authority said tests had not been concluded yet to see if the tusks came from any of hundreds of elephants poisoned with cyanide in the Hwange National Park.
“We will let you know when we find out, but we have several more people waiting to be processed through the courts on illegal ivory charges.” A rash of ivory crimes has been uncovered since the first carcasses of poisoned elephants were found in the southern part of the 5,500 sq mile park in western Zimbabwe.
Last week two Zimbabwe drivers, Langton Saka, 35 and James Byirenda 37, were arrested shortly after they crossed the South African border. Four tusks were found hidden inside the bus. They were found guilty and sentenced to four years in prison.
“The sentences are so light in South Africa,” Ms Washaya-Moyo said.
A further 12 people were arrested so far in connection with the dead elephants and four were swiftly processed through the courts and sentenced to 16 years in prison and heavily fined after being found guilty of poaching by poisoning elephants.