$1m rhino horns: 7 Chi­nese na­tion­als ar­rested

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Leonard Ncube

SEVEN Chi­nese na­tion­als were ar­rested in Vic­to­ria Falls af­ter they were al­legedly found in pos­ses­sion of more than 20kg of rhino horn pieces with a com­bined value of close to $1 mil­lion.

Zeng Den­gui (35), Pe­icon Jang (35), Liu Cheng (23), Yu Xian (25), Yong Zhu (25), Chen Zhi­angfu (30) and Qui Jin­chang (29) were ar­rested fol­low­ing a search at their rented house in Aero­drome sub­urb on Sun­day morn­ing.

The rhino pieces were al­legedly hid­den in plas­tic bags and boxes.

Po­lice were tipped off that the seven were in pos­ses­sion of rhino horns.

The po­lice ap­plied for a search war­rant be­fore raid­ing the house on Sun­day morn­ing.

The seven ap­peared for ini­tial re­mand be­fore Vic­to­ria Falls mag­is­trate Ms Ran­gari­rai Gakanje yes­ter­day.

They were not for­mally charged with con­tra­ven­ing Sec­tion 45(1) (b) of the Parks and Wildlife Act Chap­ter 20:14 As read with Sec­tion 128(b) of the same Act.

The sec­tions crim­i­nalise keep­ing, pos­sess­ing, sell­ing or dis­pos­ing of any live spe­cially pro­tected an­i­mal, meat or tro­phy of any such an­i­mal.

The mag­is­trate re­manded the ac­cused in cus­tody to Thurs­day next week.

Pros­e­cut­ing, Mr Bheki Tsha­bal­ala said the ac­cused were found in pos­ses­sion of the rhino pieces at house num­ber 858 Aero­drome on Sun­day morn­ing. “On 22 De­cem­ber in­for­ma­tion was re­ceived that there were some Chi­nese na­tion­als at house num­ber 858 Aero­drome who were sus­pected to be keep­ing rhino horns. Po­lice ap­plied for a search war­rant and pro­ceeded to the house on Sun­day morn­ing where upon search­ing they re­cov­ered a plas­tic bag con­tain­ing sev­eral pieces of rhino horns in one of the bed­rooms used by Liu,” said Mr Tsha­bal­ala.

He said sev­eral other pieces were found in a card­board box and some stashed in­side a mat­tress that had been cut for con­ceal­ment of the pieces.

A dig­i­tal scale was also re­cov­ered, the court was told.

Mr Tsha­bal­ala said the pieces weighed 20.98kg and a vet­eri­nary sur­geon con­firmed that they were real rhino horns.

The to­tal value of the pieces is $938 700. Mr Give­more Mvhiringi of Mvhiringi and As­so­ciates is rep­re­sent­ing the ac­cused. [email protected] ncubeleon

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