SINGAPORE: A Vietnamese man was on Thursday sentenced to 15 months in jail for smuggling rhinoceros horns worth S$1.7 million through Singapore.
The 22-year-old had eight horns, weighing almost 22 kilogrammes, in his luggage bag in January 10 when he passed through Changi Airport in transit to Laos from Dubai.
He was immediately arrested.
Investigations revealed that the accused had travelled to Mozambique to buy the horns to be brought back to Vietnam for sale.
To evade checks, he had also travelled to other African countries before taking a flight from Uganda to Vietnam via Dubai, Singapore and Laos.
Wildlife Reserves Singapore experts said the horns were taken from the African black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis), which is a critically endangered species protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Under the Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act (ESA), permits are required for any import, export and re-export of CITES species, including their parts and products.
It is also an offence under the ESA if the species or their parts and products are not accompanied by proper CITES permits when they are in transit or being shipped through Singapore.
Penalties for infringing the Act include fines of up to S$50,000 per species (not exceeding a maximum aggregate of $500,000) and/or up to two years' imprisonment. - CNA/ms
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