WINDHOEK: A Chinese pensioner found himself in police custody after he was found in possession of wildlife products without a permit in Windhoek on Tuesday.
The police arrested Lai Yau Ruan, 80, on 2 January, after they discovered that he was in unlawful possession of one rhino horn, 60 pieces of ivory, one leopard head skin and cheetah skin, all products he had without a permit authorising such possession. The police are yet to determine the value of the items.
According to the prosecution, Ruan is guilty of contravening Section 4 of the Controlled Wildlife and Trade Act. The elderly is now charged with a count of possession of wildlife products.
According to Namibian Police Force spokesperson, Chief Inspector Kaunapawa Shikwambi, Ruan was arrested two days into the new year after the police raided his residence in the posh Windhoek suburb of Ludwigsdorf. It has not yet been determined if the house belongs to Ruan, who is said to have been in the country for more than 17 years.
Ruan was granted N$180 000 bail when he made his first appearance before magistrate Vanessa Stanley in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court yesterday.
The investigating officer dealing with Ruan’s case informed the court that Ruan is not a flight risk and thus could be released on bail. The investigating officer also indicated that Ruan is an elderly citizen, who has health problems, furthermore, he has been in the country for more than 17 years.
As a condition for his release, the court ordered Ruan to report at the Windhoek police station every Monday and Friday, hand in all his travelling documents and not to leave the district of Windhoek without informing the investigating officer.
Should the court find Ruan guilty, he is likely to face imprisonment for a period not exceeding 20 years or both fine and imprisonment.
Magistrate Stanley postponed the matter to 23 February for further police investigations. Ruan was warned to make an appearance as scheduled or risk having a warrant of arrest issued against him.
Defence lawyer Kadhila Amoomo was representing Ruan with Ntelamo Laura Mabuku prosecuting for the state.
“The police force wants to commend those unwavering law-abiding citizens who contributed to the successful apprehension of the suspect,” said Shikwambi.