London — Customs officers at Hong Kong International Airport on Wednesday arrested a passenger arriving from Maputo who was found to be carrying seven kilogrammes of rhino horn with an estimated value of 1.4 million Hong Kong dollars (about 180,000 US dollars).
A communique from the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region stated that the traveller had arrived from Maputo via Addis Ababa. It added, “during Customs clearance, about seven kilogrammes of suspected rhino horns wrapped in aluminium sheets and adhesive tape were found inside his check-in baggage. The man was then arrested”.
The case has been handed over to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department for follow-up investigation. Any person found guilty of importing or exporting an endangered species without a licence faces a maximum fine of 5 million Hong Kong dollars and imprisonment of two years.
This seizure once again shows up the lax security, or corruption, at Maputo airport. All luggage is supposed to pass through scanners, which ought to pick up items as bulky as seven kilos of rhino horn.