Malaysia: African rhino horns worth RM13.6mil seized at KLIA

NADIRAH H. RODZI The Star 11 Apr 17;

SEPANG: The KLIA Customs Department foiled an attempt to smuggle in some RM13.6mil worth of African rhinoceros horns, making it the first and biggest such haul in the country.

Its director Datuk Hamzah Sundang said 18 horns, weighing about 51.44kg, were seized from a package that was flown in from Mozambique in a Qatar Airways flight.

“We acted based on a tip off. The shipment transited in Doha, prior to its arrival at our air cargo warehouse at the free trade zone at about 5.40pm last Friday,” he told a press conference yesterday.

Hamzah said the horns could be of African rhinos, given the origin of the package.

The shipment’s final destination was marked as Nilai, Negri Sembilan.

“Initial investigations found that the package was declared as ‘Obra De Arte’ (objects of art in Portuguese). The address in Nilai was also fake,” he said.

It is an offence to import the horns unless a permit is issued by the Wildlife and National Parks Department.

Asked what the horns were for, he said it could be for medicinal purposes.

No arrest has been made so far.

The case is being investigated under Section 135 (1)(a) of the Customs Act 1967 for smuggling prohibited goods.

A person convicted would be liable to a fine of not less than 10 times the amount of the Customs duty or RM50,000, whichever is lower, and not more than 20 times the Customs duty or RM100,000, whichever is higher, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or both.

Malaysia seizes big shipment of rhino horns at airport
AFP Yahoo News 10 Apr 17;

Sepang (Malaysia) (AFP) - Enforcement officials in Malaysia have seized 18 rhinoceros horns imported from Mozambique, weighing 51.4 kg and worth 13.7 million ringgit ($3.1 million), a senior customs official said Monday.

Airport customs director Hamzah Sundang said officials acting on a tip-off discovered the horns in a wooden crate at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport cargo terminal last Friday.

The haul is the latest indication that Malaysia has become an Asian transit hub for the illicit ivory and rhino horn trade.

The crate, listed as containing art objects, was imported from Mozambique on board a Qatar Airways flight which transited in Doha before arriving in Malaysia, Hamzah said in a statement.

Hamzah said the destination was listed as being in the town of Nilai in Malaysia's southern state of Negri Sembilan but it was a false address.

Rhino horn has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years and is also carved into highly prized libation cups.

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.

Hamzah also said 2.12 kg of ketamine worth 94.4 million ringgit was confiscated at the airport's budget terminal from a foreigner who arrived last Wednesday from Chennai in India.

"During an X-ray of the man's bag, we found white crystals which we believe was ketamine," he said.

Hamzah said the case was being investigated under the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 which carries a mandatory death penalty upon conviction.

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