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Danang customs detect rhino horns and ivory in fake marble shipment

August 17, 2015

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By Mic Smith

Rhino horn smugglers have concealed 142kg of rhino horn in blocks of fake marble to transport it from Mozambique to Vietnam.

Customs officers in Tien Sa Port in Danang in Vietnam found the banned animal parts along with 603kg of elephant tusks when they inspected a shipping container full of rocks on a boat from Mozambique.voi_TMKI

They became suspicious of the pinkish coloured blocks and broke them open to reveal  a combined 750kg of rhino horn and ivory.

They said a second container in the same shipment contained real marble.

The ship arrived at the port at 4.30am on Tuesday August 10. The discovery of the rhino horns and elephant tusks was reported on Thursday.

The containers being shipped on Liberia flagged King Brian were registered to contain raw natural marble “rough jade” worth VND450 million (US$20,250). The importer was Da Nang-based Van An Co. Ltd.

The King Brian ship then went south to Hiep Phuoc Port in Ho Chi Minh City docking August 13 at 5.30am on the way to its destination Port Klang in Malaysia.

King Brian pic

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Most rhino horn that is poached in South Africa has been being transported through Mozambique since 2014.

Vietnamese and Chinese illegal syndicates dealing in illegal animal parts have moved their operations from South Africa to Mozambique where they receive more protection from the police and government officials.

The syndicates recruit poachers from poor Mozambique villages who enter South Africa illegally to poach rhinos in Kruger National Park.

The poachers use axes to mutilate the rhino’s face, often while the rhino is still alive, to remove the horn, which is prized in Vietnam.

In related news

A rhino poacher in South Africa has been sentenced to 77 years in prison.

Mandla Chauke, a South African, was arrested in Kruger National Park in 2011.

Chauke had shot three rhinos with two accomplices before a shootout with rangers in which one suspect was killed.

Chauke was convicted of murder, illegal hunting of rhinos, rhino horn theft, illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, as well as trespassing in a national park.

Prosecutors had argued successfully that Chauke should be convicted for the murder of the accomplice who was killed by rangers.

It is likely Chauke was poaching the rhino for the market in Asia.

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