P47-M worth of rhinoceros horns from Africa seized-A A +A
Friday, September 7, 2012
MANILA -- The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has seized P47-million worth of six pieces of rhinoceros horns from Africa, an official said Friday.
The seized animal parts, with an aggregate weight of 8.5 kilos, arrived at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) from Mozambique, Africa last August 25, said Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon
He said the rhino horns seizure was a big boost to the country's participation in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of Wild Fauna and Flora.
This will discourage unscrupulous traders from using the Philippines as either its distribution or transhipment point for their illicit rhinoceros horns trading, he added.
"We strongly condemn the smuggling of endangered species because it causes irreparable damage to nature and the environment," Biazon said.
"The seizure of these rhinoceros horns should serve as a warning to ill-minded traders that the Philippines is no place for them to indulge in their illicit trade," he added.
The rhino horns were concealed in a container van loaded with 300 sacks of cashew nuts.
Customs Intelligence Group under Deputy Commissioner Danilo Lim said that the shipper of rhinoceros horns, Chisteva Import and Export of Mozambique, Africa, did not file an entry for its consignee and customs broker, prompting MICP-Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) operatives to conduct surveillance operations on said shipment.
"After validating the surveillance reports of our operatives that there were other concealed items in the cashew nuts importation, we immediately issued the alert order to hold the shipment," Lim said.
Rhinoceros horns are highly popular and command big money in Asia because of its believed healing power for illnesses like cancer and malaria among others when pulverized. Its current market price per gram in Asia is placed at $133, making its 8.5 kilos rhino horns shipment worth $1,130,500, or P47,481,000 at the current exchange rate of P42 to a United States dollar. (SDR/Sunnex)