Vietnam: Court Sentences Rhino Horn Trafficker to 14 Years in Prison
Hanoi – A rhino horn trafficker has been sentenced to 14 years in prison by a Vietnamese court, the longest sentence ever handed down in the country for this type of crime, an environmental organization announced Wednesday.
This week, a 36-year-old man was sentenced to 14 years in prison for illegally importing rhino horns from abroad, the Education for Nature Vietam (ENV) organization said in a statement.
The conviction follows the discovery by Vietnamese customs in 2019 of 55 rhino horns, weighing 125 kilograms in total, hidden in plaster at Hanoi airport.
“This heavy sentence shows that Vietnam authorities are beginning to impose severe punishments to deter environmental crimes,” ENV Deputy Director Bui Thi Ha praised.
Some beliefs in Asia attribute rhino horn powder with the power to cure hangovers and various diseases.
The rhino population in Africa has been decimated by poachers to fuel the trade, which has been banned worldwide since the 1970s. Only about 29,000 rhinos currently survive in the wild, compared to more than 500,000 at the beginning of the 20th century, according to scientific estimates.