Saving Private Rhino, the initiative created by the Aquila Private Game Reserve to give free anti poaching training to reserves all over the country, spent a large part of this year reporting back on the criminal case of two Chinese nationals who were arrested in the December 2012 at a flat on the Table View Beachfront.
The two were found in possession of almost R1 million of raw and processed ivory. The two men were arrested after a ‘tip off’ was made to the Saving Private Rhino offices when a resident of a luxury block of apartments in Tableview complained about the sounds of grinding and the smell of burning hair coming from a garage in the block. On investigation it was found that the one men was grinding tusks into workable blocks of ivory.
The Hawks swooped in and arrested both suspects. Appearing for the first time on the 10th December 2012 in the Khayelitsha Magistrates Court, Xing Xieng (52) was given R70 000 bail while the other accused was remanded due to the fact he was already facing similar charges for illegal possession of ivory in a Cape Town Court.
After appearing in court over 20 times in the last year with numerous delays caused by the lack of translators, judgment has finally been handed down. Accused number one, Chang Sen Xiong (42) has been sentenced to 10 years and a R50 000 fine. He will spend 6 of those years behind bars and 4 years of the sentence has been suspended. Accused number two has had the charges against him withdrawn.
The Prosecutor in the case, Nico Breyl, stated that it was felt that there was not enough evidence to convict the second accused in this case. “It is disappointing that accused number two has had his charges withdrawn and hopefully it will not be a decision we regret later.
We do however welcome the sentence of ten years for accuses number 1, Chang Sen Xiong.” said Mandi Jarman from Saving Private Rhino. Jarman also expressed gratitude to the vigilant neighbour who took the initiative and reported the two over a year ago as well as a special thank you to all the dedicated Saving Private Rhino supporters who took the time to make their presence felt in at the Magistrates court throughout the year.