Sec­ond rhino horn smug­gler nabbed

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - KAMCILLA PIL­LAY

A SEC­OND rhino horn smug­gler has been ar­rested within two weeks at OR Tambo In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

The De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs said in a state­ment at the week­end that the 30-year-old Zim­bab­wean woman was ar­rested on Thurs­day.

“Sus­pi­cious items were no­ticed by pri­vate se­cu­rity per­son­nel dur­ing the scan­ning of her check-in lug­gage and re­ported to cus­toms of­fi­cials who, in turn, called the Green Scor­pi­ons to as­sist with iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of the items. The horns were found hid­den among elec­tronic items in a suit­case.”

The woman was set to de­part to Hong Kong and 2kg of rhino horn were found in her lug­gage.

The con­fis­cated rhino horn, said the de­part­ment, would be sub­jected to ge­netic pro­fil­ing by the foren­sic sci­ence lab­o­ra­tory of the SAPS to de­ter­mine the ori­gin of the horn or pos­si­ble link­ages with other in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

The de­part­ment said that in terms of var­i­ous laws, a per­mit was re­quired to pos­sess or trans­port rhino horn.

Not be­ing in pos­ses­sion of a per­mit could re­sult in a fine of up to R10 mil­lion, or a fine equal to three times the com­mer­cial value of the rhino horn; im­pris­on­ment for a pe­riod not ex­ceed­ing 10 years; or both a fine and im­pris­on­ment.

This ar­rest fol­lows the ar­rest of a 24-year-old woman who was in tran­sit to Hong Kong from Lusaka in Zam­bia via South Africa last month. The ar­rest at OR Tambo of the Chi­nese na­tional was also as a re­sult of mul­ti­a­gency ac­tion.

Eleven rhino horns weigh­ing 23kg were con­fis­cated when the woman was taken into cus­tody.

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