Vietnamese man jailed in Singapore for smuggling rhino horn

A Vietnamese man was sentenced to 15 months in jail in Singapore on Monday for smuggling rhino horn from Angola, the Strait Times reported. Nguyen Vinh Hai, 29, was transiting at Changi Airport last August when eight pieces of rhino horn weighing three kilos were found in his luggage, the report said. He was waiting to fly to Laos, which borders Vietnam. Customs officers, who acted on a tip-off, found the horn wrapped in translucent plastic and aluminum foil. The pieces were cut from three horns from at least two black rhinos, the indictment said. Animal conservationists say rhinos are being poached in Africa every day to meet demand, mostly from China and Vietnam. In 2014, a record 1,215 rhinos were poached in South Africa, said the country’s Environmental Ministry. Authorities in Vietnam seized more than 150kg of rhino horn in eight seizures in the first seven months of last year, the U.K. wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC said in a report. Vietnam has strict laws that ban the sale and purchase of rhino horn, but they have failed to protect the critically endangered animal. Their horns are considered a status symbol and are used for decorations and in medicine. The country developed an appetite for rhino horn about a decade ago in the belief it could cure cancer, a myth conservation groups have bristled at. Vietnam’s last Javan rhino, a rare Southeast Asian species, was found dead in 2010 with its horn hacked off. Backed by the government, public… [Read full story]


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