Chinese nationals held with red sandalwood


Two Chinese nationals and an Indian driver have been arrested from Delhi’s Shantivan while attempting to smuggle over 2,700 kg of red sandalwood worth Rs.1.25 crore.

Red sandalwood sells for Rs.3,000 to Rs.5,000 per kg in India and is highly sought after in countries like China and Japan. Considered an aphrodisiac, it is used for manufacturing herbal medicines there.

The arrested persons have been identified as 54-year-old Ozhanmin Gai and 43-year-old Cheng Hu Hua. They were accompanied by 30-year-old Manvar Singh Negi, a native of Uttarakhand.

Negi was behind the wheels of the mini truck when it was intercepted following a tip-off, said Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Ravindra Yadav.

The police said they had received information about some Chinese men smuggling red sandalwood after buying it from a man in Gurgaon and taking the consignment to Majnu Ka Tila in north Delhi. The actual source, destination and modus operandi is still under investigated.

When the mini truck was intercepted by a crime branch team on Sunday, the Chinese nationals did not respond to the policemen’s queries.

“The driver told us that the two foreign nationals only knew Chinese. We then arranged for a Chinese translator, who helped ascertain their identities,” said a police officer.

A case under Indian Penal Code and Indian Forest Act has been registered.

“We believe Ozhanmin and Cheng are carriers and members of a large red sandalwood smuggling syndicate,” said the officer, adding that the Chinese Embassy has been informed about the arrests.

A prohibited item for export, red sandalwood is banned under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of Wild Fauna and Flora. It is found mainly in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, and often traded illegally in the international market.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 4:59:03 AM |

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