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Trial of China's 'Ivory Queen' delayed in Tanzania

By Wang Mengzhen | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2016-05-10 17:06

Trial of China's 'Ivory Queen' delayed in Tanzania

Yang Fenglan, a Chinese national suspected of trafficking ivory, is escorted by a Tanzania prison warden at Kisutu magistrate court in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, May 9, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

The Tanzanian court has once again postponed the trial of a Chinese businesswoman for suspected ivory smuggling, according to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

Yang Fenglan, dubbed as the "Ivory Queen", was suspected to have smuggled nearly 1.9 tons of ivory worth $2.7 million (5.9 billion Tanzania Shillings or TZS) between 2000 and 2014. She was detained last October, along with two Tanzanian men, Manase Philemon and Silvanus Matembo, who were allegedly connected with international poachers, traders and buyers.

Yang has denied all charges against her.

The 66-year-old used to run a Chinese restaurant in Dar es Salaam, capital city of the Eastern African country, and served as deputy director of the China-Africa Business Council.

The trial was set to begin in Dar es Salaam, on the 9th of May after a six-month delay. But it was then put off for another two weeks till May 23. It was reported that the case has been negotiated several times between the Resident Magistrates' Court Kisutu in Dar es Salaam and the High Court Of Tanzania.

According to the BBC, Tanzania's National and Transnational Serious Crimes Investigation Unit tracked her for more than a year.

Tanzania remains the worst hit area by ivory poaching in Africa. The country is believed to have lost two thirds of its total elephant population in the past decade.

In recent years, Chinese authorities have made strong efforts to collaborate with the international community on the crackdown on ivory trading. In March, China banned imports of ivory and carved-ivory items acquired before July 1, 1975, when the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora took effect.


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