or tambo rhino horn

OR Tambo customs intercept 63kg rhino horn destined for Malaysia

Andile Sicetsha - 04.02.2021

Rhino horn valued at R53.1 million was seized at OR Tambo Airport. Here’s what we know.

OR Tambo International Airport was the setting of a massive seizure, on Thursday, after customs officials from the South African Revenue Services (SARS) intercepted 63kg of rhino horn.

OR Tambo customs make big rhino horn bust

In a statement, the revenue services credited the sharp senses of a customs detector dog unit for the seismic bust.

“While conducting manifest profiling at the courier facilities, the Customs Detector Dog Unit at O.R.Tambo International Airport selected a suspicious shipment declared as ‘HP Cartridges Developers’.

“The three-piece shipment was taken to the X-ray scanner for non-intrusive inspection, where the image analysis reflected objects resembling the shape of rhino horns. The shipment was taken for physical inspection and upon inspection of the boxes, 18 pieces of rhino horn were found concealed in traditional clothing,” the statement read.

What’s the estimated value?

According to SARS, the consignment carries an estimated value of R53.1 million in the black market. A seizure of this magnitude will undoubtedly hurt the syndicate responsible for this heinous cruelty against the endangered species.

The battle is far from over, though, SARS revealed. In the last six months alone, customs officials at OR Tambo intercepted four shipments of rhino horn.

“The overall weight of the rhino horn seized in these four cases is 277.30 kg with an estimated value of R 234 114 206,” the statement continued.

What do we know about the smugglers?

In the latest bust, the Hawks have been called in to lead the investigation in tracking down the alleged smugglers involved. Thus far, however, no persons have been arrested.

SARS head Edward Kieswetter warned that no effort would be spared in “confronting and dealing decisively with any criminal malfeasance.”

“Those that are determined to destroy the rich natural endowment of our country, which is a common treasure and heritage for all, that we should look after for future generations, will be met with unwavering commitment of our officers to enforce the law,” he said.