An airline passenger en route to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from Johannesburg has been arrested with 22 rhino horns in his luggage.
The horns were intercepted by authorities at OR Tambo International Airport‚ Capt Ndivhuwo Mulamu said in a statement on Wednesday.
The Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation unit arrested the 38-year-old man on Tuesday‚ said Mulamu.
He is expected to appear in the Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court on Thursday for the illegal possession of the rhino horns.
Mulamu said the horns weighed about 30kg and are “valued at a substantial amount of money”.
This is the latest in a string of rhino horn seizures by authorities.
Two weeks ago‚ the Hawks found rhino horns with an estimated value of R38m at a warehouse in Kempton Park‚ Ekurhuleni.
In mid-April‚ A 55-year-old woman was caught with two rhino horns inside her vehicle in Bedfordview‚ eastern Johannesburg‚
Earlier in April‚ a suspect was arrested on the R21 near OR Tambo Airport in possession of two rhino horns valued at about R1.8m.
Two other suspects were arrested that month during a sting operation with more than 167 rhino horns in the Hartbeespoort Dam area in the North West.
It has been legal to buy and sell rhino horn in South Africa since 2017‚ when the Private Rhino Owners Association (PROA) won a court case against the department of environment affairs’ trading ban on a legal technicality. But there is a global ban on trading rhino horn‚ so it still cannot be sold to markets where there is demand‚ such as Vietnam and China.
Source: TMG Digital.