16 April 2018

Mozambique: Rhino Horn Seized At Maputo Airport

Maputo — The Mozambican authorities on Sunday afternoon seized 4.2 kilos of rhinoceros horn from a Chinese citizen who was about to board a flight at Maputo International Airport.

According to a Monday press release from the Mozambique Tax Authority (AT), the Chinese traveller was stopped before he could board a plane of Qatar Airways heading to Doha. His final destination was Hong Kong.

“The arrest was thanks to the joint work which the Tax Authority, the Mozambican police and other security forces have undertaken at entry and exit points throughout the country”, said the release.

The Chinese national is being held in the Maputo 11th police precinct “for subsequent steps” in the investigation.

Since the trade is illegal, it is hard to estimate how much 4.2 kilos of rhino horn would sell for. But in recent years demand for rhino horn in Asia, particularly in Vietnam, has made it more expensive than gold or cocaine.

This arrest follows the largest ever seizure of ivory in Mozambique last Thursday, when the AT opened a container at Maputo port and found no less than 867 elephant tusks, weighing over 3.5 tonnes, hidden among plastic items that were about to be sent to Asia for recycling.

The container was supposedly being exported to Cambodia, but it was owned by a Chinese company with premises in Beluluane, on the outskirts of Maputo.

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