2 Chinese held in Malawi for forex, ivory smuggling

Two Chinese national haves been arrested at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in Lilongwe for attempting to smuggle foreign currency and ivory, Malawi Police said on Wednesday.

Police Spokesperson Rhoda Manjolo identified the two Chinese nationals as Bing Tang and MShinxin Wang.

The two, who were working as engineers on the recently inaugurated Karonga/Chitipa road, had close to US$100,000 and MK130, 00, according to police.

Malawi is experiencing acute shortages of foreign exchange, leading to strict controls on the export of hard currency.

Manjolo said the Chinese had also ivory bangles and were busted as they were to board the Ethiopian Airways.

“Police arrested two Chinese nationals when they were about to board the Ethiopian Airways,” said Manjolo.

Police assert the ivory originates from elephants poached in Malawi.

The incident comes after police this week arrested a Chinese businessman, Haung Hong Gin, 44, was found guilty in court for making fake Malawi national football team replica jerseys and is awaiting sentencing on January 15.

Unwelcome headlines

China’s presence in Malawi has been growing steadily since the two countries established diplomatic ties in December 2007, and Malawi abandoned its links to Taiwan after 41 years.

Chinese nationals working in Malawi in construction or as traders have featured in a number of unwelcome headlines in the country’s media.

Last year police at KIA caught Zhang Xiang-quian trying to smuggle 3.5kg of ivory bangles, curios and necklaces out of the country. The same day, Jennifer Li was arrested when she tried to bribe police to release Zhang. The two – who both held senior positions with the Shanghai Construction Company – were fined and deported.

The owner of the China Superscope Media Company, Ning Naixing, was apprehended at the airport with 1.5kg of ivory.

Chen Bo-wet was arrested in the lake district of Mangochi after he allegedly forced a woman he suspected of stealing from his shop to undress in the presence of other customers. Nothing was found on the woman, and he was arrested after complaints.

Yani Huang, a businesswoman, was arrested and fined for violating foreign exchange controls in November 2010, when she tried to leave the country with an undeclared $18,350. A few months earlier, another Chinese national was arrested trying to take $144,000 out of the country.

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