By Samuel Ouma | @journalist_27
A Tanzanian court has handed a Chinese citizen a 15-year imprisonment and a fine of Tshs.27.86 billion ($27.86 million) for ivory smuggling.
Yang Feng Glan, 66, along with Tanzanians Salvius Matembo and Philemon Manase were found guilty of committing three crimes. The Magistrate heard that they formed a group to collect 860 elephant tusks weighing 15, 900 kilos, collected and transported tusks which is prohibited by the law and illegally purchased and exported ivory.
Resident Magistrate Huruma Shaidi sentenced each of the accused to 15 years in jail for the first and second counts and fined them Tshs.27.86 billion ($27.86 million) each for the third count. Failure to pay the fines will see them spend two more years behind the bars.
It was found that Ms. Yang and her accomplices had smuggled ivory worth Tshs.13 billion ($13 million) between 2000 and 2014.
After being in the run for a year, Yang was finally arrested in 2015 after a high-speed car chase on the fateful day. Her arrest was applauded by conservationists including US-based Elephant Action League Co-founder Andrea Crosta.
“We must put an end to the time of the untouchables if we want to save the elephant,” reiterated Crosta.
The court further ordered the authorities to seize Yang’s farm and house in Tanga on the ground of being bedrocks of ivory trafficking.