Trader caught selling outlawed ivory worth £9,000

Chao Xi leaves Portsmouth Magistrates' Court
Chao Xi leaves Portsmouth Magistrates' Court
Four illegal immigrants were found at Gosport Marina today.

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A TRADER with an interest in ‘unusual ornamental jewellery items’ was caught selling ivory online.

Chao Xi used two accounts on eBay to trade more than £9,000 of elephant ivory overseas, mostly to China, over a period of five years.

The 32-year-old, of Kingston Road, Buckland, Portsmouth, sold the ‘trinkets’, necklaces and bracelets despite being warned by UK Border Force which seized some items in transit.

Shamed Xi, who has no previous convictions, traded 102 items worth £9,981 between 2011 and 2016, a court heard.

Sentencing at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court, magistrate Rita Behan said: ‘Mr Xi I’m not going to say much to do with this matter apart from to say this is a despicable crime.

‘If no-one like you was selling the items then there would be no need for these beautiful animals to be killed in the wild, suffering long and painful deaths, and have small baby elephants dying because their mothers have been killed.

If no-one like you was selling the items then there would be no need for these beautiful animals to be killed in the wild

Magistrate Rita Behan

‘That sounds like quite an emotional response but in considering sentence we have set emotions to one side.’

Giles Fletcher, prosecuting, said: ‘The authorities became aware of somebody selling potential ivory items they shouldn’t be selling on eBay because they potentially come from post-1947 period.

‘The authorities went to the defendant’s address and effected a search upon which they found numerous items of ivory.’

Saleem Chaudhry, mitigating, said Xi, who works for a wholesale firm supplying Chinese and Thai restaurants, still has an interest in antiques but has no ivory items.

He said: ‘In the last couple of years he has gained an interest in unusual ornamental jewellery items.’

The court heard Xi, who admitted the offences in interview, bought the items for gifts for family and sold them, making hundreds of pounds at a time.

Xi received a six-month prison sentence on each of two charges, suspended for two years with 150 hours of unpaid work.

Ian Guildford, investigative support officer at the National Wildlife Crime Unit, said Xi was not a major player but he ‘knew what he was doing’.

Mr Guildford added Xi had advertised the items on eBay, which has banned the sale of ivory, as bovine bone. Photos Xi included showed marks proving they were in fact ivory.

He must pay an £85 victim charge and £85 prosecution costs.

Xi pleaded guilty at the first opportunity to a charge of prohibited keeping for sale specimens under endangered species regulations, and a charge of fraudulently evading prohibition or restriction.