Three in Court for Elephant Tusks

THREE foreigners nationals appeared in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court on Friday, for possessing four elephant tusks and two cheetah skins.

Those who appeared are two Chinese – Hou Xuecheng (37), Sha Zhiwei (30) – and an Indian, Rajaiyah Ranjith Kumar (27). A fourth unidentified suspect escaped.

The trio was charged with dealing in controlled wildlife products and possession under the Controlled Wildlife Products and Trade Act.

Xuecheng was arrested on three counts of contravening the Act, while Kumar and Zhiwei were arrested on two counts of contravening the same Act.

Prosecutor Verinao Kamahene said the trio committed a serious crime and that the State objects to bail on the grounds that they are all foreigners and might flee.

“The investigations are at a sensitive stage and the value of the items still needs to be determined,” Kamahene said.

The case was postponed to 8 August 2014 to allow police investigations.

Xuecheng will, however, appear in court today on a separate charge of illegal possession of cheetah skins.

According to court documents, the police were on patrol in the area when they saw a suspicious Amarok bakkie that was parked on the Brakwater road.

The documents also indicated that another car pulled up close to the bakkie and the four got out of their cars, and opened the canopy of the Amarok where there were four elephant tusks.

The police, who were at the time driving slowly towards the cars, realised what was happening and moved in, arresting three of the men, while one escaped.

During the arrest, the police allegedly discovered that one of the suspects, Xuecheng, has a business at China Town in Windhoek. When the police visited Xuecheng’s business premises, they forward the two cheetah skins displayed on the office wall.

The three, who were represented by lawyer Vetu Uanivi of Uanivi Law Chambers will remain in police custody until formal bail application has been made.

Source : The Namibian