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May 16 2012 11:01AM
 
Officials seizes 10 rhino horns in arrest of Vietnamese
Despite evidence showing rhino horns are useless as medicine, their street price is higher than gold. Picture: Gallo Images
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Phuti Mosomane and AFP

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 $3m (R24 638 600), 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.

AENS reported last week that about 500 traditional healers have vowed not to make magic potions to help rhino poachers escape the law.

The healers spoke out during an anti-poaching meeting held at the KaMhlushwa community hall, near Malalane (Mpumalanga), on Wednesday last week.

The meeting was organised by the Southern African Development Community Unified Traditional Health Practitioners organisation.

Authorities also seized assets worth R55m of a game farm owner and two veterinarians accused of rhino poaching.

More than 210 rhinos have been poached in South Africa since the start of the year.

In the Kruger National Park alone, 130 rhinos were illegally killed.

phutim@thenewage.co.za

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