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Nigeria: Multi-National Gang arrested for Ivory and Pangolin Scales Trafficking

Those charged included three Vietnamese citizens, two Nigerians, and nationals from Cameroon and Guinea. They have been charged with wildlife trafficking related offences going back over four years.

SEEJ-AFRICA:

  1. The following were arraigned on July 20th:  Vietnamese Phan Viet Chi, Phan Hong Quan and Duong Van Thang; Nigerians, Babangida Mahmoud and Olamilekan Adenekan; Guinea Mory Berrette, and Cameroon National, Fofou Dad Evariste. 
  2. Phan Viet Chi aka Phan Chi, was identified by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) as a trafficking syndicate head in their 2017 report: “Exposing the Hydra”.  That same report identified Malaysian national, Teo Boon Ching, as a specialist transporter who worked with the Phan Chi syndicate and had close ties to Nigeria.  
  3. It can be no coincidence that these multiple arrests in Lagos come three weeks after the arrest in Thailand of Teo Boon Ching for wildlife trafficking offences.  
  4. It would also appear that the seizure in Port Klang, Malaysia, on July 10th, of 6000 kg of ivory, with rhino horn, pangolin scales, animal bones and canines, is connected to these arrests.  That shipment was to be off loaded at Johor, known to be Boon Ching’s base of operations.

UPDATE: While the seven named above were arraigned in a Lagos court on July 20th, information has since been received that they had been arrested up to two months previous and not publicised for investigational purposes. Therefore the incident timeline is as follows:

    • Arrest of seven cartel members in Nigeria during the months of May and June.
    • Arrest of Teo Boon Ching in Thailand on June 29th.
    • The Port Klang seizure of 6000 kg of ivory on or about July 10th, 2022

Three Foreigners Arraigned Over Pangolin, Tusk Smuggling (Nigeria)

News Frontline
July 21, 2022 
 
The Nigeria Customs Services (NCS) yesterday brought seven men before the Federal High Court in Lagos for alleged illegal possession dealing, assembling, storing, smuggling and trading in pangolin skin and elephant’s ivory. 
 
The defendants, comprising three Vietnamese citizens, two Nigerians and a citizen of Cameroon and Guinea, were arraigned before Justice Yellim Bogoro. 
 
The Vietnamese are Phan Viet Chi, Phan Hong Quan and Duong Van Thang. The Nigerians are Babangida Mahmoud and Olamilekan Adenekan, while the Guinea and Cameroon citizens in the charge are Mory Berrette and Fofou Dadjo Evariste respectively. 
 
Prosecution counsel Michael Osong alleged that the defendants committed the offences between 2018 and 2022, in Lagos. He said the offences contravened sections 3(6); 1(14)(a) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, 2004 and were punishable under Section 1(14)(a) of the same Act; Section 516 of the Criminal Code Act, and sections 64 and 64(1)(b) of the Customs and Excise Management Act, 2004. 
 
They also offended Section 166 of the Customs and Excise Management Act, 2004, sections 3(1) & (2)(a) of the Customs and Excise (Special Penal and Other Provisions) Act, 2004 and Section 5(1) of the Endangered Species (Control of International Trade and Traffic) Act, 2004 among other laws. 
 
Each defendant pleaded not guilty and sought bail. Justice Bogoro remanded the defendants in the facility of the Nigeria Customs Services (NCS) till the hearing and determination of their bail application. She adjourned till September 30, for trial.
 

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