Four Chinese nationals risk jail time after they were caught smuggling Rhino horns into Tanzania from Malawi.
The four, Mr Song Lei, 33, Xiao Shaodan, 29, Hu Liang, 30, and Che Jianlin, 34, are being charged with conspiracy to smuggle Rhino horns into Tanzania without permission from the authorities.
They have also been charged with organising crime and collecting and possesing government trophies without a license from authorities.
Acccording to Mr Godliving Mollel, a Tanzanian Revenue Authority (TRA) officer at Tanzania-Malawi Kasumulu boarder post in Kyela, the Chinese were arrested three weeks ago when they were entering Tanzania from Malawi.
The four are said to have obtained a 90 days permit on 26th September to travel to Malawi on the condition that the vehicle they were using was going to be checked upon return.
Things went sour at the border on 16th November when the Chinese nationals were about to enter Tanzania. Mollel added that Mr Song Lei who was driving the car panicked when he was asked for the vehicle’s registration card. The driver was asked to wait for immigration officials, while his colleagues left the site and boarded a commuter bus which raised much suspicion.
The three were blocked before they could go any further and they were brought back to the inspection area at the border post.
The police called a mechanic, Pilimini Komba, who dismantled some parts of the car and found an iron sheet that was screwed with nuts.
He said after opening, he discovered another partition that was built like a fuel tank and the horns were inside it.
Reports indicate that a minimum of 11 rhinos must have been killed to gather the horns.