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January 28, 2014 AT 4:27 AM
A Kenyan court has ordered Tang Yong Jian of China, who was convicted of smuggling ivory, to pay a $233,100 fine or serve seven years in jail. It's the first sentence handed out since Kenya introduced a tough new anti-poaching law. Highly lucrative ivory smuggling has blighted Africa in recent years, with surging demand from rapidly growing Asian economies leading to the slaughter of thousands of rare and endangered animals, often from well-protected game parks. Conservationists hope the tough new wildlife law will deter criminal networks from smuggling ivory out of Kenya's main Mombasa port and its airports.