PRETORIA, Tuesday 14 July 2020 – Customs officials at OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA) discovered 41 pieces of rhino horn valued at R115.66 million in a consignment declared as “fine art”.
During an inspection of warehouses at ORTIA today (14 July 2020), one of the Customs teams, aided by detector dogs, detected and intervened to stop a consignment of goods destined for Kuala Lumpur via Doha.
During a physical inspection of the consignment, Customs officials discovered six boxes containing 41 pieces of rhino horn, which had been concealed in carbon paper and foil and wrapped in traditional material.
The South African Police Services’ Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (HAWKS) was alerted about the detection. A criminal case was registered with the SAPS for further investigation.
Also on the same day during the warehouse inspections, Customs officials discovered abalone valued at close to R1 million, destined for Hong Kong, and ephedrine, valued at R600 000, which had been hidden in two printer cartridges and destined for Madagascar.
Commissioner Edward Kieswetter said, “Criminal and illicit economic activities are rife and result in billions of rands of losses in tax and customs revenue to the fiscus. In addition, it seriously harms our domestic economy. I am therefore very pleased with the success at ORTIA by our Customs officials. I wish to express sincere appreciation to our Customs Officers for this diligence in fighting these unacceptable criminal activities.”
This important bust proves the dedication and perseverance of our women and men of Customs, who work with other law enforcement agencies at our borders to combat crime and put all those who are engaged in this criminal malfeasance behind bars. We are issuing a stern warning to those who are engaged in this criminal syndicated work that we will spare no effort in confronting and dealing with any criminal acts that threatens the well-being of our country and depriving our future generation from witnessing the beauty of nature as represented by our rhinoceros. We will not rest until all are caught, he said.
Rhino horns discovered at ORTIA hidden in boxes (left)