Chinese ivory dealer denied bail

HARARE - A Chinese national accused of illegally possessing 99kg of ivory worth $28 000 will remain in custody, after a High Court judge denied him bail.

High Court judge Owen Tagu, in a ruling delivered on his behalf by Justice Esther Muremba, threw out Chen Guoliang’s request to be freed on bail.

“In the result, the application for bail is dismissed,” reads the operative part of the judgment delivered yesterday.

Guoliang was arrested at the Harare International Airport attempting to board a plane to China with contraband and is accused of contravening the Parks and Wildlife Act.

He faces another charge of contravening the Customs and Excise Act, for unlawfully exporting goods.

Guoliang’s lawyer Tendai Toto told the court his client was resident in Zimbabwe and was formally employed as an engineer.

Prosecutor Douglas Chesa told the court the state was not opposed to the bail application.

According to State papers, the complainant in the case is the State, represented by Wendy Gomo from the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe.

Prosecutors told the court the 36-year-old Chinese national checked in at the reception and booked an air ticket.

He allegedly wrapped his luggage at the airport, before approaching an immigration officer, where his passport was cleared.

He was arrested after his luggage was screened using a scanning machine and immigration officials became suspicious of the contents.

Immigration officials allegedly called Guoliang for a physical search, before opening his luggage.

According to court papers, the officials recovered 17 pieces of raw ivory tusks weighing 99kg.

The court heard that the total value of the ivory was $28 475.

It is alleged that upon being questioned by immigration officials, Guoliang failed to produce a permit authorising him to be in possession of the ivory or any documents that gave him permission to export the goods.

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