|Namibia: Chinese Pledge N$30 000 to Save the Rhino|
THE Chinese business community in Namibia has pledged N$30 000 towards fighting poaching, saying it was their small contribution to help save the rhino.
The pledge follows the arrest of a Chinese national at the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa two weeks ago after 18 rhino horns were discovered in his luggage as he was travelling from Namibia.
South African authorities said the 18 rhino horns were valued at N$6 million.
In September this year, four other Chinese citizens who were convicted of trying to smuggle 14 rhino horns and a leopard skin out of Namibia in 2014 were sentenced to 14 years' imprisonment each in the Windhoek Regional Court.
Namibian police and immigration officials on Sunday met the Chinese community and embassy officials in Windhoek to address the rhino horn smuggling incidents which are increasingly being linked to the East Asians.
During the rare meeting organised by the Namibia Fu Jian Overseas Chinese Association, the embassy warned Chinese citizens against engaging in illegal trophy hunting, and to observe Namibian laws and regulations governing the protection of endangered species. The money will be handed over by the Namibia Fu Jian Overseas Chinese Association on Wednesday to the ministry of environment.
The Chinese embassy said the increasing number of poaching incidents being associated with Chinese nationals were tarnishing the image of their country and the long-standing relationship it has with Namibia.
"We value the lives of Namibian rhinos and other protected species, and adopt a zero tolerance policy towards poaching," said the Chinese embassy's officer responsible for visa processing, Liu Guilin.
"The Chinese embassy strongly condemns the illegal trading of rhino horns, and we are closely cooperating with the government of Namibia in combating this illegal activity," said Liu.
Wanaheda Police Station chief inspector Josia Shikongo, who was representing police Inspector General Sebastian Ndeitunga, said the police were concerned about the poaching incidents involving Chinese nationals, a situation he said was not only giving China a bad name, but was also damaging Namibia's reputation.
"We have to work together to ensure that those few individuals giving both our countries a bad name are brought to book," he stated.
The Chinese people are known for using rhino horns to apparently cure a number of ailments, including gout, fevers and rheumatism.
The director of visas, permits and citizenship in the ministry of home affairs Ellison Hishekwa advised the Chinese to stick to the conditions on their visas, and not to violate the provisionss by engaging in activities that they did not come to Namibia for.