Four years for rhino horn smug­gler

Grocott's Mail - - OUTSIDE - STAFF RE­PORTER

En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs Min­is­ter Edna Molewa has wel­comed the four-year sen­tence of a 24-year-old Chi­nese na­tional who was found guilty on charges of rhino horn smug­gling. The sen­tence was handed down last week in the Kemp­ton Park Re­gional Court. Shuang­shuang Xue was ar­rested at O R Tambo In­ter­na­tional Air­port en-route from Lusaka, Zam­bia to Hong Kong, China.

A suit­case that was checked in at bag­gage counter by the woman con­tained 14 pieces of rhi­noc­eros horn with a weight of about 16Kg. It was in­ter­cepted by se­cu­rity screen­ing per­son­nel at the lug­gage trans­fer area of the air­port. The Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs said Xue was ar­rested as there was no per­mits ac­com­pa­ny­ing the suit­case and its con­tents.

“The col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween law en­force­ment of­fi­cials at the air­port, in the in­ves­tiga- tion and sub­se­quent ju­di­cial process, needs to be com­mended.

“It is only through such con­tin­ued co­op­er­a­tion and col­lab­o­ra­tion that the bat­tle against rhino poach­ing, be­ing un­der­taken through the In­te­grated Strate­gic Man­age­ment of Rhi­noc­eros Ap­proach, will be won,” Min­is­ter Molewa said.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion and ar­rest were the re­sult of col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween of­fi­cials from the South African Po­lice Ser­vice (SAPS), the Cus­toms Di­vi­sion of the South African Rev­enue Ser­vices (SARS), se­cu­rity screen­ing com­pa­nies and the En­vi­ron­men­tal Man­age­ment In­spec­tors (EMIs) of the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs, based at the OR Tambo.

“The rhi­noc­eros horn were con­fis­cated and handed in at the Foren­sic Science Lab­o­ra­tory of the SAPS, to de­ter­mine the ori­gin of the horn or pos­si­ble link­ages with other in­ves­ti­ga­tions. “Dur­ing ge­netic pro­fil­ing it was dis­cov­ered that the 14 pieces of rhi­noc­eros horn were from the White Rhi­noc­eros (Cer­a­totherium si­mum), from five dif­fer­ent an­i­mals of which were four males and one fe­male.

None of the 14 pieces of rhino horn could be linked to any poach­ing in­ci­dents or reg­is­tered stock­pile,” the depart­ment said.

The Na­tional En­vi­ron­men­tal Man­age­ment: Bio­di­ver­sity Act, 2004 (Act No. 10 of 2004) (NEMBA), re­quires that the orig­i­nal doc­u­men­ta­tion from the coun­try of ori­gin must ac­com­pany a con­sign­ment.

If there is no such orig­i­nal ac­com­pa­ny­ing doc­u­men­ta­tion, an im­port per­mit is­sued in terms of NEMBA and in ac­cor­dance with the pro­vi­sions of the Con­ven­tion on In­ter­na­tional Trade in En­dan­gered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), is re­quired.

– SAnews.gov.za

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