African rhino horns worth $4.4 million seized at KLIA

African rhino horns worth $4.4 million seized at KLIA
PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

SEPANG - The KLIA Customs Department foiled an attempt to smuggle in some RM13.6mil (S$4.4 million) worth of African rhinoceros horns, making it the first and biggest such haul in the country.

Its director Datuk Hamzah Sundang said 18 horns, weighing about 51.44kg, were seized from a package that was flown in from Mozambique in a Qatar Airways flight.

"We acted based on a tip off. The shipment transited in Doha, prior to its arrival at our air cargo warehouse at the free trade zone at about 5.40pm last Friday," he told a press conference yesterday.

Hamzah said the horns could be of African rhinos, given the origin of the package.

The shipment's final destination was marked as Nilai, Negri Sembilan.

"Initial investigations found that the package was declared as 'Obra De Arte' (objects of art in Portuguese). The address in Nilai was also fake," he said.

It is an offence to import the horns unless a permit is issued by the Wildlife and National Parks Department.

Asked what the horns were for, he said it could be for medicinal purposes.

No arrest has been made so far.

The case is being investigated under Section 135 (1)(a) of the Customs Act 1967 for smuggling prohibited goods.

A person convicted would be liable to a fine of not less than 10 times the amount of the Customs duty or RM50,000, whichever is lower, and not more than 20 times the Customs duty or RM100,000, whichever is higher, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or both.

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