Malaysia seizes 18 rhino horns worth more than $3 million

Malaysia seizes 18 rhino horns worth more than $3 million

Malaysian authorities have seized about $3.1 million worth of rhinoceros’ horns flown in from Mozambique via Qatar, the latest seizure in Asia of products from endangered species to feed demand for traditional remedies..

Malaysian authorities have seized about $3.1 million worth of rhinoceros’ horns flown in from Mozambique via Qatar, the latest seizure in Asia of products from endangered species to feed demand for traditional remedies.

Malaysia is a major transit point for the trade in endangered species to other Asian countries although a customs official told Reuters Malaysia was believed to have been the final destination of the 18 horns.

Is it an offence to import rhino horns in Malaysia?

Under Malaysian law, it is an offence to import rhino horns without a licence. In April last year, Malaysia destroyed 9.5 tonnes of elephant ivory that it had seized over the years, in a move intended to deter smugglers who have long used the country as a trans-shipment point.

Malaysia has previously announced in parliament that 4,624 ivory tusks were confiscated between 2011 and 2014. Ivory from African elephants is typically smuggled to Asia where it is carved into ornaments.

Analysis

The office of Qatar Airways in Kuala Lumpur did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Customs officials at Kuala Lumpur International Airport found more than 51 kg (112 lb) of horns on Friday, after a tip-off, packed in wooden crates in a cargo warehouse.

The horns had been shipped to Malaysia via Doha, Qatar, on a Qatar Airways flight, using false documents and declared "Obra de arte" or "objects of art", Hamzah said.

The address of the consignee and the agent of the recipient didn't exist. All the documentation used for the shipment were false.

Assessment

Global trade in rhino horn is banned by a U.N. convention, but it is prized in some Asian countries as an ingredient in traditional medicines to treat everything from fever to cancer.

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