A court in Johannesburg, South Africa began Tuesday the trial of a Vietnamese man arrested two days earlier while trying to smuggle three rhino horns out of the country.
The South African Press Association reported the 25-year-old That Thai Dung, who had been watched by the police for some time, was allegedly caught at OR Tambo Airport with the horns in his luggage.
The horns, weighing a total of 13.9 kilograms, are worth an estimated US$1 million.
There is increasing demand for rhino horn in Vietnam, where the animal was announced extinct last year and the nouveau rich consider it a symbol of luxury. Many also believe in its cancer curing properties despite a lack of scientific evidence for that.
Many Vietnamese have been caught engaging in the illegal rhino-horn trade in South Africa. Last November two Vietnamese were arrested with 15 horns.
A report Wednesday by news website VnExpress said South Africa has lost around 180 of the giant mammals to the trade this year even though poaching and killing of the rhino is punishable with jail terms of up to 10 years. Like us on Facebook and scroll down to share your comment