Man caught smuggling rhino horns into Vietnam

TN News

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Ho Chi Minh City customs officials have handed a man over to police after tests concluded that the luggage he was carrying contained segments of African rhino horns, Lao Dong reported on Wednesday.

The horn segments which were found on January 6 in the luggage of the Vietnamese man referred to as H.C.C., weighed 16.26 kilograms, the newspaper quoted the Tan Son Nhat Airport's customs agency as saying.

C. had arrived at the airport on a flight from Qatar.

He initially told customs that he did not check any luggage but they soon found the horn parts wrapped in silver paper in his consigned luggage, the news report said.

Speaking to Thanh Nien earlier, Do Quang Tung, deputy director of CITES Vietnam, said between 2006 and 2012, Vietnamese authorities busted 11 crime operations involving the illegal transport of rhino horns into Vietnam from other countries, mostly in Africa, and four cases of illegal trading inside the country.

More than 100 kilograms of rhino horn have been seized in Vietnam over the past six years, the highest tally of any country in the world, Tung said.

The rhino horns were mostly smuggled into Vietnam via airports, and most of the horns were on then smuggled into China, he added.

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According to a study released by the wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC last August, of the 43 documented arrests of Asians for rhino crimes in South Africa the world's largest supplier of horns 24 were Vietnamese.

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