VietNamNet Bridge – Elephant tusks are now trading at VND30-40 million per kilo, while rhino horns at VND1 billion. The colossal profits have prompted people into conduct trafficking cases worth hundreds of billions of dong.


The briefcase with 16 kilos of African rhino horns

On January 6, 2013, HCC—a Vietnamese national, entered Vietnam through the Tan Son Nhat airport in HCM City. He did not make a customs declaration and confirmed that he did not have private goods subject to declaration.

However, customs officers then discovered nine pieces of solids rolled in tin foil weighing 16.26 kilos. The competent agencies later confirmed that the solids in HCC’s briefcase were African rhino horns which has the market value of tens of billions of dong.

VND30 billion worth of rhino horns transited in Thailand before entering Vietnam

On January 7, 2013, rhino horns were discovered in the luggage of a Vietnamese person, who was then arrested at the Bangkok airport in Thailand. The man flew to Thailand from Ethiopia and he was waiting a flight to Hanoi. The value of the seized horns was VND30 billion ($1.4 million).

The Vietnamese man said he was carrying the rhino horns from Mozambique. He was accused of illegally bringing the organs of wildlife and prohibited goods into Thailand. He may be subject to a 4-year-jail sentence and a fine of baht40,000, or VND25 million.

Two horn trafficking cases within three days

On November 4, 2012, the customs officers at the Noi Bai airport in Hanoi discovered that Nguyen Van Chien and Nguyen Van Than were carrying seven rhino horns weighing 23 kilos.

Two days later, on November 6, 2012, the Quang Ninh provincial police found a backpack containing three kilos of rhino horns which are believed to be sourced from South Africa and worth VND2 billion.

US$2 million for 3 tusk-made rings and 7 rhino horns from Mozambique

In June 2012, a Vietnamese named Doan Minh, 41, was arrested for smuggling seven rhino horns and three rings made of elephant tusks.

Minh went through the security check, but he was discovered right before he prepared to go aboard.

The consignment of illegal goods “deceived” the security check, because they were rolled in a kind of special paper which made them invisible when going through the scanner. Meanwhile, rhino horns were put together with garlic to drown the odor.

The seven tusks were believed to be from the rhinos killed at the Kruger National Park and sanctuaries in South Africa. According to Mozambique officials, the goods could be sold at $2 million on the black market.

The big tusk trafficking worth VND104 billion

On November 24, 2012, the HCM City Police arrested Tran Van Thai, Director of Thai Minh Import-Export Company headquartered in Binh Thanh district, and Le Van Tu, Deputy Director, to clarify the suspected behavior of trafficking.

In June 2012, Thai Minh Company made a customs declaration to have the consignment of salted cowhide cleared. However, customs officers, when examining the consignment of goods, discovered a container with 158 elephant tusks, weighing 2,475 kilos, worth VND104 billion, or $5 million.

At the investigation agency, both Thai and Tu admitted that they forged the documents in an attempt to import prohibited goods.

Elephant tusks and rhino horns have always been very expensive, because they are believed to have wonderful disease treatment functions. However, experts have affirmed that they cannot see any scientific proofs showing the functions.

Nhi Anh