Npr-Chinese 'Ivory Queen' Sentenced To 15 Years In Jail In Tanzania
A convicted Chinese trafficker known as the "ivory queen" has been sentenced to 15 years in jail by a Tanzanian court.
Yang Fenglan, who has lived in Tanzania on and off for decades and operated a Chinese restaurant, was found guilty of working with two Tanzanian men to smuggle more than 800 pieces of ivory between 2000 and 2004, as Reuters reported.
Yang and the men – Salivius Matembo and Manase Philemon – were convicted of "leading an organised criminal gang," according to the wire service. They have denied the accusations.
She was initially arrested in 2015, following what the BBC termed a "high speed car chase" with Tanzanian authorities.
Investigators say Yang "was a key link between poachers in East Africa and buyers in China for more than a decade," the broadcaster reported.
China has been a major driver of demand of ivory, which has been disastrous for Africa's elephants. A recent major census of the African elephant population found that it decreased by nearly a third between 2007 and 2014. China started banning the domestic sale of ivory in 2018 after pressure from environmental groups.
This particular case "was viewed as a major test of Africa-wide efforts to hold key trafficking figures accountable for the mass killing of elephants to supply ivory to illegal markets, including in China," as The Associated Press reported.