A Vietnamese man was caught on March 10 at Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport while attempting to smuggle five African rhino horns weighing a total of 13.1 kg into the country.
The five horns were worth around 15 billion VND ($705,000), according to customs officers who coordinated with the Police Department of Criminal Investigation in Economic Management and Positions (C46B) to detect the case.
The import of rhino horns is prohibited as the animals are listed as an endangered species, following the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and Decision 11/2013/QĐ-TTg issued by the Prime Minister on January 24, 2013.
According to the Wildlife Department under the Humane Society International, since the beginning of 2013, at least 746 rhinos have been killed for their horns in South Africa, which has the highest concentration of rhinos in the world. Many of the horns were transported to Asia, including Vietnam.
The last rhino in Vietnam was killed in 2010, which is a tragic lesson in protecting wild species on the verge of extinction.