Malaysian authorities have seized a record amount of 50 rhino horns worth an estimated 12 million USD at Kuala Lumpur International Airport as they were bound for Vietnam (Photo: VNA)
 
Hanoi (VNA) – Malaysian authorities have seized a record amount of 50 rhino horns worth an estimated 12 million USD at Kuala Lumpur International Airport as they were bound for Vietnam.

Customs officials at the airport said on August 20 that the 50 rhino horns weighed 116 kilogrammes and are worth about 50 million ringgit (12 million USD). The seizure was the biggest ever in Malaysia's history in terms of the number of horns and value.

Officials also found a big amount of animal bones, which are believed to be from tigers and leopards, weighing about 200 kilogrammes with an estimated value of 500,000 ringgit.

Trading in rhino horn was banned globally in 1977 by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), but illegal hunters have decimated rhino populations to satisfy demand of people in East Asian countries.

A kilogramme of rhino horn can be sold for tens of thousands of dollars in the region, where many falsely believe it can cure cancer. Meanwhile, glue made from tiger and leopard bones are also popular in Asia.

Kuala Lumpur is a hub for cheap flights around Southeast Asia, and has become a key transit point in the smuggling of rare animal parts.

Last year, Malaysia seized about 3.1 million USD worth of rhino horns flown in from Mozambique via Qatar.-VNA