By Calvin Onsarigo
Detectives in Mombasa county yesterday detained a ship and arrested two Chinese crew members over alleged smuggling of ivory through the Moi International Airport.
Aung Hlang and Suraya Mesdin were charged with having wildlife trophies.
Police sought three days to search MV Kota Henning that docked at the port and investigate the two men.
Mombasa resident magistrate Richard Odenyo granted the request.
He ordered that Hlang and Mesdin be remanded at the Airport police station pending investigations.
The duo arrived in the country aboard the vessel from Pemba, Tanzania, on Monday.
They were arrested as they attempted to board a plane.
Police said the two were arrested at the luggage screening section awaiting to board a flight for Dubai and Bangkok on Monday.
Airport police boss Richard Okwenya said nine pieces of ivory weighing 7.3kg wrapped and stashed in a suitcase were seized.
Speaking to the Star on the phone, he said police are investigating if the two are part of a wider network of foreigners behind ivory trade in Kenya and Tanzania.
"We want to search the vessel and collect any evidence that may assist in the investigations," said investigating officer senior sergeant of police Stephen Naibei.
He told the court the crime under investigation is under wildlife conservation and management and strict penalties are imposed upon conviction.
Despite new stringent laws, Mombasa businessman and suspected ivory trade kingpin Mohamed Fesal has evaded arrest since a warrant was issued against him on June 11.
Kenya holds the dubious record of the world's leading country in the transit of ivory leaving Africa into the Asian and European markets.