Cape Town – Two Chinese nationals who returned to a Cape Town restaurant to claim a backpack containing processed rhino horn and ivory were each given a suspended five-year jail term on Thursday.
The two were sentenced in terms of a plea agreement in the Wynberg Magistrate's Court, said Western Cape Hawks spokesperson Lloyd Ramovha.
He said Bingchang Liao was sentenced for possession of elephant ivory without documentation, while Jiawei Yang was sentenced for possession of rhino horn without a permit.
A forfeiture order of R35 000 applied to each man.
Half the money would be paid to Cape Nature and the other half towards the Criminal Asset Recovery Account.
"Both have been declared as undesirable persons in the country and will be leaving the country today."
The pair, aged 24 and 27, were wining and dining at a restaurant in Hout Bay on Sunday night and apparently forgot the backpack.
They returned on Monday afternoon to claim it and were directed to the nearby police station, where the parcel had been handed in for safekeeping.
The Hawks' organised crime endangered species unit arrested the two on the spot.
The loot had an estimated street value of just over R60 000.