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RHINO HORN SMUGGLERS ADAPT

Lam Tak-fai, the acting head of Ports and Maritime Command in Hong Kong, displays smuggled rhino horns at the city’s customs department.

Kin Cheung, The Associated Press

 

JOHANNESBURG » Traffickers have tried many ways to smuggle African rhino horns to Asia, concealing them in Buddha statues, stashing horn pieces in lobster heads in a refrigerated container and disguising horns as the bases of painted statues. Now, conservationists say, some criminals are processing rhino horns into powder and trinkets in South Africa before export, a trend that could make it harder for law enforcement to intercept the illegal cargo. The development highlights the difficulty of countering criminal syndicates, some of which include Chinese nationals, which show versatility in the face of periodic anti-poaching successes by security officials. — AP

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