AFRICANGLOBE – A Chinese ivory smuggler fined Sh1 million ($12,000) for being in possession of illegal ivory products was on Wednesday re-arrested as he tried to flee Kenya.
Zhang Chunsheng was arrested at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) following an order by the High Court stopping him from travelling outside the country until an appeal filed by Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko challenging the “light” sentence is determined.
Zhang was first arrested on January 28 at the JKIA while on his way to Guangzhou, China, from Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
He was found in possession of three necklaces, two bracelets, 10 pendants and two rectangular blocks weighing 300 grammes valued at Sh58,000 ($700) without permit.
The items were made from ivory. He was charged on January 30 with being in possession of a wildlife trophy of an endangered species contrary to the new Wildlife Act, 2013 and an additional two counts of dealing and manufacturing items from ivory.
Zhang pleaded guilty to all the charges and was fined Sh1 million or in default serve a five-year jail term. He paid the fine on February 3 and gained his freedom.
However, the DPP appealed against the conviction on grounds that the sentence was not in conformity with the new Wildlife Act which prescribes a minimum fine of Sh1 million or five years in jail and a maximum life sentence and Sh20 million (233,000) fine.
Justice Mbogholi Msagha granted him interim orders barring Zhang from leaving Kenya pending the hearing of the appeal.
Chinese nationals are blamed for an increase in poaching across Africa, that is threatening to wipe out some of the world’s most endangered species.
By: Paul Ogemba