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Malaysia seizes 18 rhino horns from Mozambique

Associated Press logo Associated Press 10/04/2017
Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) customs director-general Hamzah Sundang, center, inspects the rhino horns that were seized at KL International airport during a press conference in Custom office in Sepang, Malaysia on Monday, April 10, 2017. A total of 18 Rhino horns weight of 51kg (112 pound) with a value of US$ 3.1 million were confiscated on April 7 from Mozambique to Kuala Lumpur via Doha. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian) © The Associated Press Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) customs director-general Hamzah Sundang, center, inspects the rhino horns that were seized at KL International airport during a press conference in Custom office in Sepang, Malaysia on Monday, April 10, 2017. A total of 18 Rhino horns weight of 51kg (112 pound) with a value of US$ 3.1 million were confiscated on April 7 from Mozambique to Kuala Lumpur via Doha. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysian authorities said Monday that they have seized 18 rhino horns believed to have been smuggled into the country from Mozambique.

Airport customs director Hamzah Sundang said the horns were flown from Mozambique and transited in Doha before arriving at Kuala Lumpur's airport on Friday. He said the horns, which weighed 51.4 kilograms (113 pounds) and were worth 13.6 million ringgit ($3.1 million), were declared as art objects in a forged air bill with a fake final destination.

Hamzah said that custom officials made the seizure at the airport cargo warehouse based on a tip and that no arrests were made. The case is being investigated for smuggling of prohibited goods.

Rhino horns are believed to have medicinal properties and are in high demand in Asia.

In a report last year, the wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC said Malaysia was a world transit hub for the flow of tons of illicit elephant ivory between Africa and Asia. It said seizures also linked Malaysia to Kenya and Uganda in the trafficking of 23 rhino horns from August 2010 to December 2013.

Conservationists say there are only around 30,000 rhinos left worldwide, compared to about half a million decades ago. All five remaining rhino species are threatened species, with three out of the five listed as critically endangered.

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