Police nab Vietnamese with 12kg rhino horns, lion teeth
16 May 2015, 16:38
Nairobi - Police are holding a Vietnamese national who was arrested in the wee hours of Saturday with rhino horns, rhino tails and lion teeth worth 126,000 U.S. dollars.
Airport Criminal Investigations Department (CID) commander Judy Jebet said the 47-year-old Vuanh Tuan was arrested at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport while on transit from Maputo, Mozambique to Hanoi, Vietnam when his luggage was intercepted.
"We arrested him early this morning while on transit from Maputo to Hanoi with rhino horns, tail and lion teeth. The luggage he was carrying was found with the products weighing 12kgs," Jebet told Xinhua by telephone.
Jebet said Tuan was looking suspicious when he landed at the airport at around midnight aboard a KQ flight, an issue that prompted security officers to search his luggage.
"When the luggage was searched, the products were found wrapped in nylon papers. We have launched investigations into the matter and the suspect will be charged in court Monday," said Jebet.
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officials went to the airport soon after the Vietnamese was caught and have launched an investigation into the issue.
Also see: GALLERY: Rhino horns worth KES 10M nabbed in Nyeri
Sources said the horns, tail and teeth presumably came from rhinos poached in South Africa, since rhinoceros are believed to be extinct in southern Mozambique.
The demand for rhino horn in parts of Asia is driven by absurd beliefs, eagerly peddled by charlatans hoping to get very rich, that the powdered horn is a cure for everything from hangovers to cancer.
Heavily-armed criminals kill elephants and rhinos for their tusks, which are used for ornaments and in some folk medicines.
Wildlife conservationists have decried the entry of organized crime syndicates into the illegal wildlife trade, most notably of rhino horn and elephant ivory, which they said, has created a crisis situation in many African countries.
The arrest is the latest in a series targeting foreigners using the airport as a transit point for trafficking of banned animal products. He will appear in court on Monday police said.
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