Voice of America (Washington, DC)

Kenya Sentences Chinese Man Under New Anti-Poaching Law

A Kenyan court has sentenced a Chinese ivory smuggler to seven years in prison, in the country's first sentence under a tough new anti-poaching law.

The court Tuesday handed down the sentence to 40-year-old Tang Yong Jian, who had pleaded guilty to charges of illegally possessing and dealing in ivory. Jian has the option of paying a fine of about $233,000 to avoid jail.

He was arrested at Nairobi's international airport this month after authorities discovered 3.4 kilograms of raw ivory in his suitcase. Investigators say he was traveling from Mozambique to the Chinese city of Guangzhou.

The Kenyan Wildlife Service says the stiff sentence will help deter poachers, who have decimated elephant populations across Africa.

The ivory trade was made illegal in the 1989, but continued demand for ivory has spurred on poachers and smugglers. Demand is particularly strong in some Asian countries where ivory is used to make ornaments and jewelry.

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