Smuggled rhino horns seized at Tan Son Nhat airport hinh anh 1The seized exhibits (photo: VNA)
HCM City (VNA) – Rhino horns weighing nearly 1.5 kilogrammes were seized at Tan Son Nhat International Airport on May 8, the airport’s custom officials reported.

Three pieces of horns were discovered in the luggage of a 20 year-old man, a Vietnamese national, flying from Africa to Vietnam. They were stored in personal items and hidden in children’s toy boxes.

The value of the horns was estimated at about 2 billion VND (88,000 USD).

The case is being prosecuted and Customs at Tan Son Nhat International Airport will work with relevant authorities on the investiagation.

Last month, the airport’s customs, the Police Department for Smuggling Prevention and the Police Department for Economic Crime Investigation discovered five kilogrammes of rhino horns and more than 4 kilogrammes of products made from African elephant’s tusks and pangolin scales.

There are only 25,000 wild rhinos in the world at present, with the population dropping by 95 percent over the last four decades. South Africa is home to some 20,000 rhinos, or 80 percent of the total.

Up to 1,175 rhinos were poached in the country in 2015, down slightly from the record of 1,215 in 2014. However, many experts believe that the true number of poached rhinos is much higher.

Poaching is attributed to rising demand for rhino horns in some Asian countries, including Vietnam, since many people in these nations believe that rhino horns can cure illness, a claim not corroborated by science.

Conservationists have warned that rhinos will become extinct within the next 10 years if poaching is not stopped. The last Java rhino in Vietnam was killed at Cat Tien National Park in 2010.-VNA