February 15, 2019 | 11:07 am GMT+7
Vietnam is both a major consumer and a transit point of rhino horns. Photo by AFP/File
Hong Kong customs officers Thursday made a record seizure of 40 kg of rhino horns worth $8 million that were en route to HCMC.
Two men, aged 28 and 33, were intercepted at Hong Kong International Airport after officials spotted them acting suspiciously. The men, whose identities and nationalities have not been disclosed, had arrived from Johannesburg in South Africa.
A search of their luggage turned up the horns hidden in two cardboard boxes checked in to Ho Chi Minh City, the government website news.gov.hk said.
Hong Kong is a global hot spot for wildlife trafficking. It is a key transit point for shark’s fin and rhino horn besides timber smuggling to Asia, particularly mainland China.
Vietnam is a major consumer of rhino horns for their alleged medicinal powers and a transit point for trafficking mostly to China and the U.S., where they are made into jewelry and home decoration items.
It has banned the trade in rhino horn, elephant ivory and pangolins, but weak law enforcement has allowed a black market to flourish and supply a global multi-billion-dollar industry in animal parts and exotic pets.
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