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From Nairobi smuggled rhino horns haul seized at Hanoi Airport | Coastweek

BANGKOK Thailand (Xinhua) -- Different haul from Addis Ababa: Customs officials display seized rhinoceros horns during a press briefing at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand. The Thai customs recently seized 21 pieces of rhinoceros horns smuggled from Ethiopia. XINHUA PHOTO - RACHEN SAGEAMSAK

From Nairobi smuggled rhino horns haul seized at Hanoi Airport

HANOI Vietnam (Xinhua) -- Customs officers at the Noi Bai International Airport in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi have seized over 100 kgs of suspected rhino horns imported from Africa.

The haul of wildlife parts were discovered in two suitcases on board of a flight from Kenya’s Nairobi to Hanoi, local Tuoi Tre (Youth) online newspaper reported on Thursday.

The luggage did not bear the name of the recipient as well as its total weigh.

Anti-smuggling division under the General Department of Vietnam Customs investigated the shipment, discovering that one of the suitcases weighed 57.1 kg and the other weighed 60.84 kg.

Both contained animal horns appearing to be from rhinos, according to officers.

Local relevant authorities were carrying out further probe while the wildlife parts had been transferred to the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources under the management of the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology for an examination.

On Dec. 29, 2016, customs officers at Noi Bai Airport also seized a 50-kg shipment of rhino horns shipped from Kenya to dubious recipients.

The shipment had an estimated black market value of some 20 billion Vietnamese dong (879,097 U.S. dollars), reported Tuoi Tre.

In accordance with Vietnamese law, import of rhino horns, as with all animals protected by the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), is prohibited.


Kenyan authorities launch probe into rhino horns nabbed in Vietnam

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan authorities on Thursday launched investigations following the seizure of rhino horns worth over 0.7 million U.S. dollars in Vietnam.

According to media reports, 119 kilograms of rhino horn were stashed in two suitcases and sneaked from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Kenyan capital of Nairobi in a well coordinated syndicate.

Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) spokesman Paul Gathitu said the horns were smuggled from Malawi to Nairobi en route to Vietnam via National Carrier Kenya Airways.

Speaking to Xinhua, Gathitu said a multi-agency team investigating the seizure is analyzing CCTV footage that captures crew members removing tag from the two suitcases and concealing the suitcases.

He said the haul was impounded at Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport on Tuesday after they were found hidden in luggage on a flight from Nairobi.

The two suitcases were found to contain 57 kilograms and 62 kilograms of Rhino horns, respectively during the scanning by custom officials at Vietnam airport.

"We have launched investigation to establish how the haul was smuggled from the airport without detection.

"Several staff members including airport officials will be questioned, " said Gathitu.

Vietnam is a lucrative market for rhino horns, believed to have medicinal properties as conservationists warn that rhino population has dwindled due to ready market in Asia.

In 2016, Vietnam customs officials seized nearly one tonne of ivory hidden in a timber shipment from Kenya that had originated from port of Mombasa.

Kenyan authorities are yet to arrest brothers Samuel Jefwa and Nicholas Jefwa wanted by Interpol for colluding with custom officials to smuggle the ivory in the Asian market .

In 2013, the government imposed stiffer penalties—longer jail terms and bigger fines—on anyone convicted of poaching or trafficking in wildlife trophies, saying poaching was harming tourism, a major foreign exchange earner.



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