Vietnamese man arrested in Thailand for smuggling rhino horn from Angola

By Vi Vu   August 11, 2017 | 10:44 am GMT+7

The horn had been hacked into pieces, but was detected by an x-ray scanner at the airport.

Officers at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok arrested a Vietnamese national on Tuesday after finding pieces of rhino horn in his bags.

The man, surnamed Ha, had flown from Angola and transited in Dubai and Bangkok as he was bound for Laos, The Nation reported.

The horn was detected by an X-ray machine at the airport’s wildlife checkpoint.

He has been charged with violating the Wildlife Preservation and Protection Act, the Customs Act and the Animal Epidemics Act.

Animal conservationists say rhinos are being poached in Africa every day to meet demand, mostly from China and Vietnam.

Vietnam has strict laws that ban the sale and purchase of rhino horn, but they have failed to protect the critically endangered animal. Their horns are considered a status symbol and are used for decorations and in medicine.

The country developed an appetite for rhino horn about a decade ago under the belief it could cure cancer, a myth conservation groups have bristled at. Vietnam’s last Javan rhino, a rare Southeast Asian species, was found dead in 2010 with its horn hacked off.

Backed by the government, public awareness campaigns have helped discourage the trade, and prices have fallen from their peak of $70,000 per kilogram several years ago.