Sabahi (Washington, DC)

28 January 2014

Kenyan Court Hands Down Record Sentence for Chinese Ivory Smuggler

A Kenyan court handed down a record sentence Monday (January 27th) for a Chinese ivory smuggler, the first person to be tried under tough new laws designed to stem a surge of poaching, AFP reported.

Tang Yong Jian, 40, pleaded guilty to charges of illegal possession and dealing in ivory after he was arrested last week carrying a small elephant ivory tusk weighing 3.4 kilogrammes in a suitcase while in transit from Mozambique to China via Nairobi.

He was ordered to pay 20 million shillings ($233,000) or else go to jail for seven years. He has 14 days to appeal the sentence.

Under the new anti-poaching law, dealing in wildlife trophies carries a fine of no less than 1 million shillings ($11,600), or a minimum jail sentence of five years, or both.

The most serious wildlife crimes -- the killing of endangered animals -- now carry penalties of life imprisonment, as well as fines of up to 20 million shillings ($233,000).

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