South Africa Sentences Vietnamese Rhino-Horn Smugglers

JOHANNESBURG -- South African conservation groups say a court has given long prison sentences to two Vietnamese men convicted of smuggling rhino horns.

The conservation groups say the men were sentenced Thursday. Duc Manh Chu was sentenced to 12 years; Phi Hung Nguyeng received eight years.

They were arrested with 20 rhino horns at Johannesburg's airport in June 2010.

South African park officials say 227 rhinos and 15 alleged poachers have been killed this year.

They say 131 suspects have been arrested as the price of rhino horn surpasses gold.

A game ranger at the flagship Kruger National Park was arrested in connection with rhino poaching last week.

Most rhino horn is destined for China and Vietnam for use in traditional medicine, though scientists say it has no medicinal value.