Two Chinese nationals were sentenced yesterday in Lusaka by magistrates for possession of ivory trinkets. As first time offenders the magistrate acknowledged the need for leniency and sentenced one to 7 years hard labour and the second to 5 years hard labour.
Magistrate Muma, when sentencing, warned that trading in ivory was “ a recipe for extinction of animals especially elephants“. He added that if such acts were allowed, they would be “promiscuous” killing of elephants in search of ivory.
The first Chinese national was Chen Shaoming, 58, had in his possession four ivory bungles, two ivory necklace beads, four loose ivory beads of assorted shapes and one ivory hanko all weighing 0.5 kilogrammes without a certificate of ownership issued by the director general of Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA). The driver who worked on the Lusaka Independence Stadium Construction Site was sentenced to 7 years hard labour. [pullquote]Magistrate Muma, when sentencing, warned that trading in ivory was “ a recipe for extinction of animals especially elephants“.[/pullquote]
The second Chinese national was Guo Wei, 46, an engineer also of Lusaka Stadium construction site had in possession one elephant ivory processed and hanko without a certificate of ownership. He was sentenced to 5 years hard labour.
Initially both men had pleaded guilty when charged on June 8th but last week applied to change their pleas to not guilty.
Magistrate Muma on 19th June rejected the grounds of the change of plea and sentenced the two. He said having carefully considered the mitigation of the two, he paid particular attention when determining the sentence to the fact that they were first offenders who deserved leniency.
As we move toward the peak holiday season it’s always worth remembering to be careful of what you buy as holiday souvenirs. If you’re lucky and you get your souvenirs back to UK borders you may just have them taken off you with a finger wagging from the customs officer. But if you get caught in Africa with those souvenirs you could be staying there a lot longer than you first planned – and quite right too.