Vietnam seizes 45 kg of ivory, rhino horn at airport

By Dam Huy, Thanh Nien News

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More than 43 kilograms of ivory and 1.3 kg of rhino horns smuggled through Tan Son Nhat Airport recently were seized, a source from the customs office said.
The source said the office cooperated with police in busting various attempts this year to bring the illegal tusks and horns, most of which came from Africa, into Vietnam.
The source did not say either when the smuggling goods were found or if any arrest was made.
In one case, the officers found several elephant tusks, weighing a total of 43.5 kg, which had been sawed into pieces.
In another, a Vietnamese national was caught smuggling 1.39 kilograms of rhino horns, which he had meticulously cut into small pieces and hidden in lobster heads, which were then kept in a freezing container.

Lobster heads inside which a Vietnamese national hid pieces of rhino horns in an attempt to smuggle them through Tan Son Nhat airport.
The officers also seized 3.68 kilograms of products made from African ivory this year.
Last year, the customs office at Tan Son Nhat Airport seized 13.1 kilograms of rhino horns, 265 kilograms of elephant tusks and 25 kilograms of ivory products, all valued nearly VND26 billion (US$1.2 million) on the black market.
The rising trade of rhino horns and elephant tusks is pushing the two giant animals to the verge of extinction, and Vietnam has faced criticism from international conservation groups for being a big part of it.
Vietnam government bans the commercial use of the parts but that has not effectively stopped the widespread belief in their medicinal effects despite the lack of adequate scientific evidence.
Many also flaunt the parts as a status symbol.

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