Hong Kong Customs seizes suspected rhino horns at airport (with photos)

29 Jul 2015

Hong Kong Customs detected the smuggling of suspected rhino horns in three express air parcels at Hong Kong International Airport on July 27. A total of 10 suspected rhino horn slabs weighing 6.71 kilograms, with an estimated value of about $1.34 million, was seized.

Customs officers identified the suspected express parcels at a freight delivery centre for inspection. The parcels were declared to contain "wood sample" arriving on different flights on July 26 and July 27 from Pemba, Mozambique, to Hong Kong via Johannesburg, South Africa. Upon examination, Customs officers found the 10 slabs mingled with wood products in the parcels. Each slab was wrapped in aluminium foil and plastic sheets. The 10 slabs were suspected to be cut from two whole rhino horns. It is believed that the smuggler attempted to evade Customs detection by cutting the suspected rhino horns into pieces for delivery in separate consignments.

The case was handed over to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department for follow-up action. Hong Kong Customs will continue to work with the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department to deter trafficking of endangered species.

Under the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance, any person found guilty of trading in endangered species for commercial purposes is liable to a maximum fine of $5 million and imprisonment for two years.

Ends/Wednesday, July 29, 2015

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