Elephant Poachers Denied Bail

An Indian national who faces charges of dealing in and possession of controlled wildlife products failed in his attempt to get bail last week on Friday.

Rajaiyah Ranjith Kumar, 30, faces counts of dealing in and possession of four elephant tusks. His co-accused are Chinese nationals Hou Xuecheng, 37, and Sha Zhiwei, 27.

Kumar was the only one who applied for bail with the expectation that should he succeed his co-accused would automatically be granted bail.

This did not materialise, however, as Magistrate Jermaine Muchali Muchali turned down the bail application after two days of argument. Defence attorney Vetu Uanivi represented all three accused.

In the meantime the State is awaiting a decision from the Prosecutor General on Xuecheng who alone faces a charge of being in possession of two cheetah skins without a permit.

The three accused made their first appearance two weeks ago after they were arrested when police officers on routine patrol at night noticed suspicious-looking vehicles near NaTIS Valley.

The officers apparently monitored the situation involving a Toyota Conquest and a VW Amarok.

After they approached the vehicles and introduced themselves as police officers a search revealed four elephant tusks in the boot of the sedan.

The driver of the sedan managed to escape but police are looking for him.

The three accused were then taken to Xuecheng’s place of business where the cheetah skins were discovered.

It was also revealed the accused claimed they did not know that the person who escaped was offering them elephant tusks as he had allegedly only informed them he had something that might interest them.

A second case involves controlled wildlife products after another three Chinese were caught with rhino horns early this year.

According to statistics 116 elephants and 14 rhinos were killed in Namibia since 2012.

Source : New Era

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