The courtroom is tiny, hot and crowded. It’s standing-room-only.

The accused stands silently, looking towards the window so that it is impossible to see her face or read any emotion.

She is a 66-year-old Chinese grandmother; by appearance an unlikely candidate for criminal mastermind.

When it comes to law enforcement, usually it is the foot soldiers that get arrested.

It is exceedingly rare to get what is claimed to be a senior figure, let alone a Chinese citizen, into court.

But here, in Tanzania’s commercial capital, Dar Es Salaam, Yang Feng Glan has become better known as the infamous ‘Ivory Queen’.

It’s alleged that she ruled a network that linked local poachers to powerful Chinese buyers.

Her arrest is being heralded as a major breakthrough for the country’s anti-poaching task force in its battle against a brutal trade that has seen Tanzania’s population of elephants decline at a catastrophic rate.

“It’s a big victory for the task force, a big victory for the elephants,” claims Malcolm Ryen, a local conservationist.

Mrs Yang first came Tanzania in the 1970s, as a translator when China was building a railway here

She stayed and developed high level contacts. At the time of her arrest, she was vice–president the Tanzania China-Africa Business Council.

But does that business also include the lucrative and illicit trade in ivory, so popular in far east?

Source: Arrest of alleged ‘Ivory Queen’ hailed a breakthrough in anti-poaching battle – ITV News