Vietnam police make massive seizure of rhino horns, arrest 2

By Khanh Hoan, Thanh Nien News

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The massive haul of rhino horns seized by Nghe An police on May 9. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre The massive haul of rhino horns seized by Nghe An police on May 9. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre


Police in the north-central province of Nghe An have seized 31 rhino horns worth millions of dollar on the black market and arrest two men suspected of smuggling the contraband. 
The police caught Doan Duy Dinh and Le Thanh Trung, both 32, red-handed with the haul, weighing around 37kg and worth VND22 billion (US$10 million), at 1:30 AM Saturday after the duo disembarked from a local railway station and were about to take a taxi. 
The horns were hidden in three bags, the police said.
During questioning, Dinh confessed that an unidentified man had hired him to transport the consignment from Ho Chi Minh City to Nghe An for VND40 million (US$1,850). He then asked Trung to join.
Police are expanding investigation into the case.
According to a Nielsen survey, 75 percent of those interviewed in Hanoi and HCMC believed that rhino horn has health benefits, with more than one-third of all respondents believing that rhino horn can cure cancer.
Such health benefits have been proven wrongful as scientists found the horn structure is similar to human nails and hair.
International conservation groups have identified Vietnam and China as the world's two major consumers of rhino horns -- a charge the two countries have bristled at.
South Africa and Vietnam have signed a pact on biodiversity management to curb the rampant illegal trade in rhino horns.
 Vietnam has outlawed the commercial use of rhinoceros horn The trade has been fueled by a misguided belief in its supposed medicinal properties, including its ability to cure cancer. Many also flaunt the horns as a status symbol.

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