By Werner Menges – The Namibian
ONE of the Chinese men accused of trying to smuggle 14 rhino horns out of Namibia in March last year admitted yesterday that he knew he was carrying controlled wildlife products in two suitcases which he was planning to take to China.
The admission by Li Zhibing that he was aware of the contents of the suitcases in which police officers discovered 14 rhino horns and a leopard skin at Hosea Kutako International Airport on 24 March last year is contained in a plea explanation that was handed to Magistrate Alexis Diergaardt at the start of the trial of Li and three fellow Chinese citizens.
With his co-accused denying guilt on all charges, Li told the magistrate through a Mandarin interpreter that he wanted to plead guilty to two counts of unlawful export of controlled wildlife products. State advocate Simba Nduna, who is conducting the prosecution of the four accused men, did not accept the plea offered by Li, though, with the result that Li and his co-accused will have to see through their trial together.
Li (54), Li Xiaoliang (31), Pu Xuenin (49), and Wang Hui (40) are charged with two main counts of unlawful export of controlled wildlife products, alternatively unlawful dealing in or possession of controlled wildlife products, and a third main charge of acquiring the proceeds of unlawful activities, alternatively possessing or bringing into or taking out of Namibia the proceeds of unlawful activities.
– See more at: The Namibian