South Africa seizes 10 rhino horns in arrest of Vietnamese

Reuters News
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Posted: May 18, 2012 11:14 AM
South Africa seizes 10 rhino horns in arrest of Vietnamese

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African police have arrested a Vietnamese man suspected of being in illegal possession of 10 rhino horns, one elephant tusk and cash with a total value of nearly $3 million, an official said on Wednesday.

South Africa, the country home to the most rhinos in the world, has been losing almost two of the threatened animals a day to poachers who sell the horns in China and Southeast Asia for use by the affluent as a traditional medicine ingredient.

"There was a tip-off that we acted on speedily in fear that the suspect may try to dispose of incriminating items," police spokesman Vishnu Naidoo told Reuters.

The man, who has yet to be identified, is expected to appear in court on Thursday. He was arrested on Tuesday night in a Johannesburg-area apartment and the suspected contraband was seized.

Despite evidence showing rhino horns are useless as medicine, their street price is higher than gold.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Ed Stoddard)