Authorities in Namibia said that a Chinese person who was serving a 15-year prison term there for smuggling rhinoceros horns has fled. According to VOA, the escapee, identified as Wang Hui, was a prisoner in the Windhoek Correctional Facility.
Hui was found guilty of exporting restricted wildlife products unlawfully and was sentenced accordingly. Authorities detained the Chinese national and three of his countrymen in 2014 at the Hosea Kutako Airport after discovering they were in possession of rhino horns and leopard skin. On the illegal market, the wildlife products reportedly had a worth in the millions.
The four men were subsequently convicted in 2016.
The Department of Correctional Services’ public relations representative, Michael Mulisa, gave information regarding Hui’s escape. He claimed that after being escorted outside the prison for a job assignment, the imprisoned Chinese national fled.
“On the said day the escapee was part of a team of offenders from the Windhoek Correctional Facility industrial workshop taken outside the facility to load material from a supplier in [at] Brakwater mix informal settlement,” said Mulisa. “These materials are being used to partition or convert some rooms into offices at the Windhoek Central Hospital.
“It is alleged that the escapee was permitted by an officer guarding him to use a toilet and subsequently sneaked out from the toilet without being detected. Police officers are on the hunt for the escapee,” he added.
It is reported that rhino horn trafficking and poaching are common in Namibia. 48 rhino poaching incidents have been documented in the past 10 months, according to the nation’s Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Tourism. In the country, 43 such incidents were reported in 2018 while 40 were reported in 2020.