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Rhino horns worth R23m seized at OR Tambo Airport

According to Sars, the 36 pieces of rhino horns were found after a K9 detector dog reacted positively to a consignment of ‘decoration items’ in a warehouse.

Some of the 36 pieces of rhino horns seized at the OR Tambo International Airport on 10 January. Picture: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG - A large consignment of rhino horns worth about R23 million has been intercepted at OR Tambo International Airport.

While performing searches at several cargo warehouses, K9 members arrived at a warehouse where export consignments were packed to be shipped out.

According to the South African Revenue Service (Sars), 36 pieces of rhino horns were found after a K9 detector dog called “Lizzy” reacted positively to a consignment of so-called “decoration items” in a warehouse.

Some of the 36 pieces of rhino horn seized at the OR Tambo International Airport on 10 January. Picture: Supplied.

Customs officials say the horns, destined for Dubai, were hidden underneath cut laminated wooden sheets in four boxes which were filled with doormats and decorative items.

Recent reports of the detection of rhino horns in the east originating from Southern Africa led to increased enforcement interventions on outbound flights at the Cargo area of OR Tambo Airport. In a statement, Sars says the multidisciplinary team at the airport is on alert and continues to work tirelessly to stop contraband, including rhino horns from being smuggled through ports of entry.

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