JOHANNESBURG – South African police have arrested two Vietnamese and confiscated a large number of rhinoceros horns as part of an anti-poaching operation, authorities said Saturday.
The suspects were detained Friday night while in transit at Johannesburg's main international airport, police said in a statement. The men had left Mozambique and were on their way to Vietnam, and their bags contained 90 pounds of rhino horn, which would be worth a fortune on the illegal market, according to the statement.
Police believe the horns came from rhinoceros in South Africa, which is struggling to stop a surge in rhino poaching. The Vietnamese suspects will appear in court on Monday, and authorities said they will investigate any South African links to what they allege is an international poaching syndicate.
Some consumers in Vietnam and China view rhino horn as a status symbol and a healing agent, despite a lack of evidence that it can cure.