A Kenyan court has sentenced a Chinese man to seven years for ivory smuggling in the first case since the country passed a stringent new law to deter illegal trading in wildlife products.

The man, Tang Yong Jian, had pleaded guilty to charges of illegally possessing and dealing in ivory. To avoid jail, he has the option of paying a fine of about US$230,000.

Paul Muya, a spokesman for the Kenya Wildlife Service, said the decision Tuesday would deter potential smugglers and poachers.

Kenya faces a serious problem of smuggling, the reason it passed a new law that authorities hope will save endangered species such as the elephant. Even as Jian was being sentenced, another Chinese man was in police custody after being arrested Monday night over alleged ivory smuggling.