A successful Chinese businesswoman known as the “Ivory Queen” was sentenced to 15 years in prison Tuesday for smuggling tusks of over 350 elephants!
Yang Feng Glan, Salivius Matembo and Manase Philemon, were each sentenced to 15 years after being convicted of leading an organized crime. They were sentenced by a Tanzanian court where Yang was found guilty of harboring tusks, weighing nearly 2.2 tons, to Asia. According to police sources, Yang lived in Tanzania since the 1970s and was secretary-general of the Tanzania China-Africa Business Council. The businesswoman is a Swahili-speaker and owns a favored Chinese restaurant in Dar es Salaam.
The court ordered the three to pay either twice the market value of the elephant tusks or spend an additional two years behind bars. The prosecutors said in court documents that Yang “intentionally did organize, manage and finance a criminal racket by collecting, transporting or exporting and selling government trophies”. While conservationists celebrated Yang’s sentencing because of the government taking wildlife poaching seriously, they want her to serve more time.
“(It) is not punishment enough for the atrocities she committed, by being responsible for the poaching of thousands of elephants in Tanzania,” Amani Ngusaru, WWF country director, told Reuters. “She ran a network that killed thousands of elephants.”
According to a 2015 census, Tanzania’s elephant population dropped drastically from 110,000 to around 43,000 from 2009 to 2014. Conservation groups have blamed the loss of elephants to “industrial-scale” poaching and it seems police are cracking down on things. In March 2016, Tanzania sentenced two Chinese men to 35 years each for smuggling. In December 2015, four Chinese men were sentenced to 20 years in jail for smuggling rhino horns.
Yang was lead with tight security to the Ukongo prison in Dar es Salaam where she will serve.
Watch the video below to find out more on Yang: