A Chinese national has been sentenced to two years and seven months in jail after being convicted for attempting to smuggle ivory from Kenya.
Chen Biemei, 30, was arrested on August 14, 2013 while trying to smuggle assorted worked ivory tucked in 15 sachets disguised and declared as macadamia nuts weighing 6.9kg.
She was trying to board a Kenya Airways Flight KQ 862 to Hong Kong at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi.
When she appeared before the Makadara Magistrate Court in Nairobi, Biemei denied the charges and was remanded at Lang’ata Women’s Prison.
However, during Thursday’s trial, Biemei pleaded guilty to all charges and was sentenced to serve eight months for being in possession of ivory, 15 months for dealing in ivory and eight months for failing to make a report to wildlife authorities of being in possession of the ivory without an option of fine.
During sentencing, the magistrate noted that Kenya is facing rampant poaching and that the culprit had ‘malicious intentions and a guilty mind’ that necessitates a custodial sentence to reign on the menace.
Biemei first appeared in court on August 15, 2013 but the proceedings were bogged by language hitch.
A State counsel was granted one day to find an interpreter to aid in the prosecution. The magistrate directed that she remains in custody until August 16, 2013 to allow the State counsel look for an interpreter before taking a plea.
A total of 17 suspects of six different nationalities have been arrested smuggling ivory out of the country since the beginning of this year.