Tanzania: Chinese ‘Ivory Queen’ sentences to 15 years in jail

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Tanzania has sentenced Yang Fenglan, a Chinese businesswoman known as the “Ivory Queen”, to 15 years in prison for smuggling hundreds of elephant tusks out of the country.

Yang was accused of running one of the largest ivory-smuggling rings in Africa, handling $2.5 million (£1.9m) worth of tusk from more than 400 elephants. Authorities say ivory poaching has caused a 20% decline in the population of elephants across Africa.

‘Ivory Queen’ sentenced to 15 years

Yang was convicted of on charges related to the smuggling of around 800 pieces of ivory from some 400 elephants between 2000 and 2014. The Chinese businesswoman moved the items from Tanzania to the Far East where demand for ivory in China and East Asia is strongest.

By the time she was arrested, Yang had become a prominent business owner in the Tanzanian capital of Dar es Salaam – operating a Chinese restaurant and an investment company in the city. Having lived in the country since the 1970s, Yang is fluent in Swahili and previously served as vice-president of the China-Africa Business Council of Tanzania.

Two Tanzanian men were also found guilty of being involved in the smuggling ring and sentenced to 15 years in jail.

Featured image: Public domain

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.