Kenya jails Chinese ivory smuggler

2013-08-22 19:22


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Nairobi - Kenya sentenced a Chinese ivory smuggler to two and a half years in prison on Thursday in a landmark ruling hailed as sending a powerful warning to poachers and smugglers.

The illegal ivory trade, estimated to be worth between $7bn and $10bn a year, is mostly fuelled by demand in Asia and the Middle East, where elephant tusks and rhinoceros horns are used in traditional medicine and to make ornaments.

"A precedent has been set by this sentencing, it is a sign that our judiciary is waking up to the scale of the crisis and the damage that is being done to our animals," Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) spokesperson Paul Udoto told AFP.

Chen Biemei, 30, was jailed for 31 months for trying to smuggle 6.9kg of worked ivory she had disguised as 15 bags of macadamia nuts.

Chen, who pleaded guilty, was stopped and arrested on 14 August as she tried to fly to Hong Kong.

Despite a surge of rhino and elephant killings across Kenya - and elsewhere in Africa - previous cases have seen smugglers escape with minimal fines and then set free.

In March, a Kenyan court handed a relatively small fine of less than $350 to a Chinese smuggler caught with a haul of more than 400 pieces of finger-length ivory pieces.

A total of 17 people from six different countries have been arrested trying to smuggle ivory out of Kenya since the beginning of this year, according to KWS.

"It is the longest such sentence I have seen for a long time," Udoto said. "Now those who want to damage our wildlife must also test our prison system."

Last year poachers slaughtered 384 elephants in Kenya, up from 289 in 2011, according to official figures, from a total population of around 35 000.

Read more on:    kenya  |  poaching

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Millions of plastic particles in our food!

Scientists and researchers believe that almost five million tons of plastic is dumped in the oceans every year and it’s affecting our food.



Plastic on your plate
Prince George the green prince?
Lean, green, drifiting machine
One man's $1 million vision for an eco Africa

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

It may be hard to maintain a steady rhythm as you find yourself juggling a zillion things. Slow down a little and let go of more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.