Major rhino horn seized at Vietnam airport

By VnExpress   November 19, 2016 | 09:00 pm PT
The major bust coincided with pledges to step up enforcement during a conference in Hanoi.

Anti-smuggling officers seized a 4-kilogram rhino horn at Tan Son Nhat International Airport on Friday.

The suspected smuggler, Nguyen Duc Nguyen, 40, reportedly claimed to have purchased the item from a man in the north-central province of Nghe An and intended to sell it in Ho Chi Minh City.

Police said the horn would have fetched around VND4 billion ($177,000) on the Vietnamese black market. Vietnam's average annual income was around $2,100 last year, according to the World Bank.


Nguyen and his rhino horn. Photo courtesy of the police.

In July, customs officers at Tan Son Nhat International Airport also arrested a Vietnamese national for attempting to smuggle VND4.5 billion ($201,000) worth of rhino horn concealed in tins of powdered milk formula.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) established a global ban on the trade of rhino horn in 1977.

Conservationists say Vietnam and China are the world's two largest consumers of rhino horn.

Though the government officials have, at times, refuted that charge, Vietnamese representatives promised to strengthen enforcement and improving cross-border cooperation during the Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade in Hanoi this week.

Related news:

> Light at tunnel's end: Vietnam pledges tough action against illegal wildlife trade

> Vietnam destroys huge ivory, rhino horn cache

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