ivory trade

French prosecutor demands six years in prison for Irish rhino horn smuggling gang

 Fire burns part of an estimated 105 tonnes of ivory and a tonne of rhino horn confiscated from smugglers and poachers at the Nairobi National Park near Nairobi, Kenya, April 30, 2016.
Fire burns part of an estimated 105 tonnes of ivory and a tonne of rhino horn confiscated from smugglers and poachers at the Nairobi National Park near Nairobi, Kenya, April 30, 2016. 路透社

A prosecutor at a court in the French city of Rennes is demanding prison terms of between two years suspended and six years in prison for members of an Irish ivory smuggling gang connected to the traveller community. They were arrested after a random motorway traffic inspection by police in 2015 that led to the discovery of several elephant tusks and €32,800 in cash.

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The nine accused are guilty of "a real cultural and ecological massacre", according to the prosecutor, Vincent Mailly.

He demanded the heaviest sentences for the four members of the "Rathkeale Rovers", a criminal group from the Irish traveller community, whose arrest in September 2015 marked the start of the investigation.

Mailly demanded six years for Tom Greene, 33, "a predator without a gun," who was arrested twice, first for possession of four elephant tusks, and a second time when he was found to have a rhino horn. 

For gang member Richard O'Riley, 35, who accompanied Greene, Mailly demanded four years in prison.

Mailly requested five years in prison, including two years suspended, against David Ta, a 51-year-old business man in antiques and perfumes. Ta is thought to be the mastermind of a Franco-Vietnamese elephant tusk trafficking network.

He requested three years,  two of which were suspended, for Quan Do Danh, 41,  who ran "an ivory cutting workshop".

He also requested two years in prison, including 18 months suspended, against Kit Ching Ha, 56, suspected of hosting a rhino horn processing workshop and two years suspended against "Doctor Yang" Daosheng, 58, for smuggling ivory.

Mailly demanded the release of Quing Jia, who worked as a tourist guide connected to the group, due to 'lack of evidence."

(With AFP)

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