Four arrests connected to illegal rhino horn trafficking were made last week. All suspects were headed to Hong Kong.
The suspected rhino horn traffickers were arrested at Hong Kong International Airport on Friday and Saturday. Two more were arrested at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Sunday.
According to sources close to the department, the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department seized about 2.5 kilograms of rhino horns with an estimated value of
HK$500,000 at Hong Kong International Airport on Friday.
Officers arrested a male travelling to Hong Kong from Johannesburg. The suspected horns were wrapped in tin foil and placed inside a food package.
On Saturday, the department seized another 10.5 kilograms of suspected rhino horns with an estimated market value of HK$2.1 million. Officers arrested a male at the airport, this time arriving from Jakarta, Indonesia.
On Sunday, two Chinese nationals were removed from an Istanbul-bound plane just before take-off at OR Tambo International Airport. They were due to continue to Hong Kong.
South African Revenue Service customs officials discovered 10 rhino horns in their luggage. Both passengers were arrested and remain in police custody.
The first two cases were transferred to Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department for further investigation.
Under the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance, any person found guilty of importing or exporting an endangered species without a licence is liable to a maximum fine of
HK$5 million and two years imprisonment.
The department had no further comments.