Man denies rhino horn, ivory charge

News – National | 2018-08-03

Page no: 5

by Werner Menges

Ruan Lai You

AN ELDERLY man admitted in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court yesterday that he had a rhino horn, ivory and other wildlife products in his possession when he was arrested by the police early this year.

“These items were in my possession,” Ruan Lai You (79) told magistrate Vanessa Stanley while explaining the plea he gave on a charge of possessing controlled wildlife products without a permit.Ruan, who is Chinese by birth but has South African citizenship, was arrested and charged after police officers allegedly found a rhino horn, 60 objects made from ivory, a leopard head and a cheetah skin in his possession in Windhoek on 2 January.

After pleading not guilty to the charge yesterday, Ruan told the magistrate he had bought the items found in his possession in West Africa before he brought them to Namibia.

“I bought them in the Ivory Coast, and then I came to South Africa,” Ruan said, with assistance of a Mandarin interpreter. He added that he had been in South Africa for about a month before travelling to Namibia.

“The time I was apprehended by the police, my intention was just to keep them in my house,” he said about the rhino horn, ivory objects, leopard head and cheetah skin he is alleged to have had without a permit. His case was postponed to 23 October to allow the prosecutor general time to decide about the course the matter will be taking. Ruan was granted bail of N$180 000 when he made his first court appearance on 4 January. He has to report to the Windhoek Central Police Station every Monday and Friday, may not leave the Windhoek district without informing the investigating officer in his case, and has had to surrender all of his travel documents to the police until his case has been finalised.