Four Chinese men are to be arraigned before the Makadara Law Courts in Nairobi this Monday afternoon (January 28, 2013) over smuggling of ivory through Kenyan territory.
The prosecution of the four suspects follows their arrest at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) while on transit from Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo to Guangzhou, China, aboard a Kenya Airways flight KQ886 late Sunday night (January 27, 2013).
The four suspects, Gu Guisheng, Qu Rongjun, Lu Xuefeng, and Wang Chengbang, were detected and seized by a joint security team from the Kenya Airports Police Unit, Kenya Revenue Authority, national carrier Kenya Airways and the Kenya Wildlife Service.
They were found in possession of assorted pieces ivory products comprising of five pendants, 23 bangles, a pen holder, 28 beaded bungles, 40 chopsticks, six necklaces, five pieces of worked ivory and two pieces raw ivory weighing 9.6kgs. They were booked at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport Police Station awaiting arraignment in court.
At the same time, three other Chinese nationals and a Kenyan driver were this morning arraigned in a Naivasha Court over the smuggling of a dead spitting cobra snake from Hells Gate National Park on Friday. They denied the charges of illegal possession of government trophy and failing to report to Kenya Wildlife Service. The suspects were released on a cash bail of Ksh10,000 each. The case will be mentioned on February 7, 2013. An interpreter is also being sought to aid with the prosecution.
Last week, a magistrate at the Makadara Law Courts ordered that five suspected ivory smugglers holding Vietnamese passport remain in police custody until an interpreter is found to aid in their prosecution. An investigation into this contraband is still ongoing.
KWS has up-scaled Kenya’s ports surveillance in recent days to reign on smugglers for illicit consignments of wildlife products particularly ivory. Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Mombasa sea ports are an important link on trade routes to international destinations.