Thursday, 17 November 2011


Taken from the Citizen Wed. 16 Nov. 2011.

HONG KONG custom officers have seized a record haul of 33 rhino horns along with ivory chopsticks and bracelets hidden inside a container shipped from South Africa, officials said.
Officders found the horns and 758 ivory chopsticks and 127 Ivory bracelets in a haul worth a total of about R18 million (HK$17,4 million) when searching a container declared to contain "scrap Plastic" on Monday.
SeniorCustoms officials Lam Takfai told RTHK radio the horns were carefully wrapped in multiple layers of materials and hidden in the rear of a container.
Lam said rhino horns have been siezed in Hong Kong in the past but never in such a large quantities.
Conservation group and World Wildlife Fund said that this month that rhino poaching in SA had hit a record high, with 341 of the animals lost to poachers so far this year as black-market demand for their horns soars.
Officials blame the poaching surge on organized crime syndicates selling rhino horn for use in Asian medicinal treatments, especially in Vietnam.  The United Nations wildlife trade regulator has called for stiffer penalties for poacher, with the price of a horn per kilo fetching around R187 8855.00.
Under Hong Kong law, anyone found guilty of importing endangered species for commercial purposes is liable to a fine of HK$ 5 million, and two years in prison

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