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Thu, 31 May 2012 13:02 - Updated Thu, 31 May 2012 13:01

Mozambique customs arrest rhino horn smuggler

Maputo

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Maputo - Mozambican police have arrested a Vietnamese man at the main airport in Maputo as he tried to smuggle rhino horns out of the country, a spokesman said Thursday.

The man was arrested on Wednesday as he was about to board a Kenya Airways flight to Hanoi via Bangkok.

"Inside the international terminal we apprehended a man with seven rhinoceros horns. They were in his luggage," the spokesman for Mozambique's customs police, Raimundo Mapandzene, told AFP.

The man, identified as Doan Minh, 41, had already made it past airport security screening when he was caught, according to the government-owned O Pais newspaper.

The authorities did not confirm the origins of the rhino horns.

Mozambique is worried by the rise in poaching linked to international crime syndicates.

Last week another Vietnamese man was arrested at the airport attempting to smuggle elephant tusks out of Mozambique, said O Pais.

Rhino horns are prized in Asian traditional medicine, with Vietnam emerging as a major market based on a widespread belief that they can cure cancer, despite ample scientific evidence to the contrary.