Environmental police in Hanoi have arrested two men for illicitly trading rhino horns and many tusks, claws, and horns of other wild animal species.
Nguyen Hai Au, 34, a local resident, and Hoang Duc Quan, 29, hailing from the northern province of Cao Bang, were caught trading in the wild items at a house at 102 Le Quang Dao Street in Nam Tu Liem District on Wednesday night. Police officers seized from them several rhino horns weighing 100 grams and many tusks, claws, and horns of other wild animal species. Au and Quan failed to show any documents to prove the origin of the items. The two told police that they could sell smuggled rhino horns for about VND100 million (US$4,670) per 100 gram. Police officers also confiscated a plastic gun that the traffickers said they had used to threaten other people in their drug deals when necessary. The two men belonged to a rhino horn smuggling ring that operated in Hanoi for four years, investigators said. The police are expanding their investigation to track down others involved in the ring. Many rhino smuggling cases have been discovered in Vietnam in the past years. The most recent case occurred at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi on October 27, when customs officers found rhino horns weighing 6 kg hidden in the luggage of a Vietnamese woman, 29-year-old Nguyen Thi Ngoc Tu, who flew in from Bangkok. The woman told customs officers that she was hired by a person in Bangkok to bring the horns to Hanoi. The Vietnamese government recently issued a directive banning specimens of rhinos and several other wild animals from being traded, exported or imported.
Specifically, specimens of white and black rhinos and elephants, as well as products made from their horns, are prohibited.
Any other animals included in the list of the appendices of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna are also not to be traded.