Chinese national’s docket disappears

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Chinese national’s docket disappears

Regional Court Magistrate Leopoldt Hangalo yesterday struck the case of a Chinese businessman, Hou Xue Cheng and his Namibian co-accused Hamutenja Hamutenya on a count of dealing in controlled wildlife products, from the court roll.

The reason was that no docket nor witnesses were before the court.

The magistrate said the matter has been coming from 2014, and the State failed to get their affairs in order for it to start. He cancelled the bail of N$100 000 for Cheng and N$5 000 for Hamutenya, and ordered it to be refunded to the depositors. 

Hou (48), fellow Chinese citizen Sha Zhiwei, Indian national Rajaiyah Kumar and Hamutenya were arrested in June 2014 after they had allegedly been caught dealing in ivory in Windhoek. Another Namibian, George Mashala, was arrested on the same charge at the end of July 2014, but was later discharged. The warrants of arrest for Sha and Kumar, which were issued in July 2016 after they absconded, were extended. Both vanished after being granted bail of N$20 000 each.

The State had charged all five of the accused with one count based on an allegation that they dealt in four elephant tusks with a combined weight of 54 kilogrammes valued at N$598 000 in Windhoek on 11 June 2014.

Hou, Kumar and Sha are also charged with two counts of possessing controlled wildlife products without a permit. In respect of those charges, the prosecution is alleging that the three men were in possession of a cheetah skin and a leopard skin in Windhoek on 12 June 2014 without having the required permits to possess the skins, and that they also had seven zebra skins, a pangolin skin and a stuffed leopard head in their possession at China Town in Windhoek on 11 October 2014 without having permits to possess those wildlife products.