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Chinese ‘Ivory Queen’ smuggler bags 15 years jail in Tanzania

A prominent Chinese businesswoman dubbed the “Ivory Queen” was sentenced to 15 years in prison by a Tanzanian court on Tuesday for smuggling the tusks of over 350 elephants, weighing almost 2 tonnes, to Asia.

Yang Feng Glan had been charged in October 2015 along with two Tanzanian men with smuggling 860 pieces of ivory between 2000 and 2004 worth 13 billion shillings (5.6 million dollars).

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However, all three denied the charges.

Police sources said Yang, 69, had lived in Tanzania since the 1970s and were secretary-general of the Tanzania China-Africa Business Council.

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A Swahili-speaker, she also owns a popular Chinese restaurant in Dar es Salaam.

Kisutu Court Magistrate Huruma Shaidi sentenced Yang, Salivius Matembo and Manase Philemon, each to 15 years, after they were convicted of leading an organised criminal gang.

Shaidi ordered them to either pay twice the market value of the elephant tusks or face another two years in prison.

In court documents, prosecutors said Yang “intentionally did organise, manage and finance a criminal racket by collecting, transporting or exporting and selling government trophies” weighing a total of 1.889 tonnes.

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