Hussein Yahya Al-Asri from Yemen went on trial in the Guangzhou
Intermediate People's Court in south China's Guangdong Province on
Monday on charges of smuggling ivory.
Al-Asri, a 27-year-old businessman, was charged after customs
discovered 60.73 kilograms valued at 3.5 million yuan (US$0.45
million) in his luggage at the Baiyun Airport in Guangzhou on June
Al-Asri said he tried to tell customs officials he was carrying
the ivory but because he couldn't speak Chinese or English, he
couldn't make himself understood and failed to declare the 14
pieces of ivory.
He said the ivory was bought from another businessman in Yemen
at a cost of US$30 per kilogram and he intended to sell it in
"I really didn't know carrying ivory is illegal in China. Had I
known this I would never carried the ivory," said Al-Asri.
A verdict is expected later this year, according to local
China established regulations on the trade of endangered wild
fauna and flora last September.
China joined the Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Species of Wild Fauna and Flora in 1980 , but some African and
Southeast Asia nations have not.
The regulations require the approval of the Chinese government
to export or import wildlife or wildlife products for
non-commercial purposes, such as scientific research, breeding or
(Xinhua News Agency April 10, 2007)