CHINESE NATIONAL ARRESTED AT JOBURG AIRPORT WITH 12.2 MLN RAND IN RHINO HORNS

A 48-year-old Chinese national has been arrested at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport for allegedly attempting to smuggle out of the country rhino horns with an estimated value of 12.2 million Rand (about 891,000 US dollars), according to the Department of Environmental Affairs.

The department said Monday that the suspect was intercepted after attempting to take a transit flight to Hong Kong on Saturday. The three rhino horns found weighed a total of 9.4 kilogrammes and were discovered after the suspect’s luggage was screened by Border and Customs officials.

Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa congratulated the Department’s Environmental Management Inspectorate (Green Scorpions) at OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA) working together with Customs, the security company employed by the Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), as well as the Directorate For Priority Crime Investigation on the arrest.

The Green Scorpions are stationed at a number of ports of entry and exit to increase capability to detect incidents of smuggling of wild specimens, as part of the Department’s Integrated Strategic Management of Rhinoceros approach under implementation since 2014.

The arrest took place on the eve of the opening of the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

“With South Africa being the home to the world’s largest rhino population, naturally all eyes will be on us at CITES COP17 as we discuss the impact of the transnational illicit trade in wildlife on our rhino population,” Molewa said on Monday, adding that the country was experiencing a decrease in the rate of rhino poaching, and at the same time an increase in the number of arrests for poaching-related offences.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK.