CUSTOMS

Suspected rhino horns worth HK$500,000 seized at Hong Kong airport

Products found hidden inside luggage of traveller from Johannesburg after three similar seizures in March

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 June, 2017, 5:16pm
UPDATED : Friday, 09 June, 2017, 5:18pm

Customs officers at Hong Kong International Airport arrested a male traveller on Fridayfor attempting to smuggle HK$500,000 worth of suspected rhino horns from South Africa.

Three suspected endangered rhino horns were discovered in the luggage of the traveller, who arrived from Johannesburg.

“During customs clearance, about 2.5kg of suspected rhino horns were found inside his check-in baggage,” the Customs and Excise Department said in a press release. “The suspected rhino horns were wrapped in tin foil and placed inside a food package.”

The 46-year-old man was then arrested.

Pretty crafty: rhino horns worth HK$2 million and seized by Hong Kong customs looked like artwork

The case was handed to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department for a follow-up investigation, according to the customs department.

In March, customs officers detected three smuggling cases at the city’s airport and seized HK$3.2 million worth of rhino horns.

On March 29, officers seized HK$500,000 worth of rhino horns in an express parcel from Mozambique. Twelves pieces of rhino horn worth HK$1.3 million were found hidden in two express parcels from Namibia on March 22.

On March 8, a 21-year-old man who had arrived from Mozambique was arrested after HK$1.4 million worth of rhino horns was found in his luggage.

Importing or exporting an endangered species without a licence carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a HK$5 million fine under the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance.

Members of the public may report any suspected smuggling activities to the customs’ 24-hour hotline on 2545 6182.