Three Chinese nationals arrested in Libreville Airport with ivory objects (Gabon)


Gabon Tribune

Date Published

Translated from the French by an automated online translation service, so please excuse the roughness. See link for original.
See link for photo.

XIAN GUIREN, WAN LI Shenlei and Xiaohu, all Chinese nationals, were arrested and held in custody June 7, 2017 in Léon MBA International Airport in Libreville in flagrante detention crime, transport and jewelry export attempt elephant carved in ivory.

The arrests were made by Gabonese Customs when reinforced checks at the airport as part of the “African Wings” operations. The seized items are combs, chopsticks and jewelry. It is common for Chinese subjects carry with them memories purchased in Gabon, even if it is against the law.

The three involved were taken to Libreville floor after two nights in custody to be finally inflict a transactional fine decided by the prosecutor. True, the amounts seized were low, but the legislation is to deter many holdouts who might be tempted to do the same. Surveys show that ivory products are exported every week or even every day by plane, which after one year is huge amounts.

The final destination of the ivory is primarily Southeast Asia and China, ivory trafficking vectors. The recent decision of the Chinese government to ban the sale of ivory on its territory appears as a bright spot as the status of elephants has become critical. Indeed only 27 000 elephants are estimated are killed each year for their ivory in Africa.

But the announcement of the ban should be fully effective from the end of 2017 has already significantly lowered prices on Asian markets. A report entitled “Decline of the legal ivory trade in China in anticipation of the ban” and published by Save The Elephants, shows that the average price fell 2,100 dollars per kg to $ 730 per kg between 2014 and 2017.

This decrease is explained by several reasons: the economic downturn, the determination of the Chinese government’s crackdown on corruption and awareness campaigns have also helped Chinese people to realize the negative impact of purchase.

The Director of the NGO Conservation Justice, Luc Mathot says that “only an international collaboration and a tightening of national legislation would limit the ivory trade globally, provided of course that these laws and international agreements are applied.