15 May 2014 16:10pm
WINDHOEK, 15 MAY (NAMPA) - Three Chinese nationals arrested with 14 rhino horns at the Hosea Kutako International Airport in March this year, want to be released on bail.
The 14 rhino horns, valued at N.dollars 2.3 million, were allegedly poached in Namibia during the course of this year.
Li Xiaoliang, 30, Li Zhibing, 53, and 49-year-old Pu Xuexin on Thursday brought an urgent, formal bail application in the Windhoek Magistrate's Court along Mungunda Street in Katutura.
In their bid, Xiaoliang and Zhibing told Windhoek Magistrate George Mbundu that they want to be released on bail because the Namibian prison environment has now become too harsh and difficult for them to handle.
They told the court that they will never try to abscond from Namibia to other countries once released on bail, and that they will abide by all bail conditions as may be attached.
The two men further said they would not try to interfere with police investigations in whatsoever manner if the court grants them bail.
Xuexin will give his evidence on Friday.
However, Public Prosecutor Antony Wilson is objecting to the granting of bail on the grounds that the three men might abscond from Namibia to other countries in order to evade prosecution.
Windhoek-based defence lawyer Olivier Lino is defending the three Chinese nationals.
They are each charged with the illegal possession of specially-protected resources (animal products).
Apart from the 14 rhino horns, the Namibian Police Force's Aviation Unit also found a leopard skin in their luggage at Namibias international airport on 23 March 2014 as they were about to fly to Hong Kong via Johannesburg in neighbouring South Africa.
Xiaoliang told the court that he can afford to pay N.dollars 20 000 bail, while Zhibing said he can post N.dollars 5 000 to be released.
The hearing continues on Friday.