Vietnamese authorities seize illegal rhino horns from Abu Dhabi flight
Vietnamese authorities have seized over 125 kg of rhino horns hidden aboard an Etihad Airways cargo aircraft, according to media reports.
According to Vietnam News Agency, the horns were discovered hidden in plaster blocks earlier this week at Hanoi’s Noi Bai Airport.
Images taken following the bust depict Vietnamese security personnel using rods to break the casts apart, as well as large rhino horns on a table.
“It took half a day to break them open,” a security source was quoted as saying by AFP.
In a separate case, Vietnamese police earlier this week arrested three suspects for transporting a number of frozen tiger carcasses from neighbouring Laos.
Vietnam is a frequent destination and transhipment location for illicit animal products, including pangolins, tiger parts, rhino horns and elephant tusks.
AFP reported that rhino horns cost as much as $60,000 per kilogram in Vietnam, where it is believed that that they can help cure diseases and hangovers when ground into powder.
Approximately 29,000 rhinos still live in the wild, down from approximately 500,000 at the beginning of the 20th century.
The Vietnamese government has repeatedly pledged to stem the flow of illegal wildlife entering the country, but experts say the black market has persisted due to weak law enforcement.