Remarkable seizure in The Netherlands illustrates extent of illegal rhino horn trade
On 21 February 2013 a remarkable seizure took place in The Netherlands, showing that the illegal rhino horn trade is stretching far beyond the African countries where rhinos are killed for their horns and those countries where they are consumed, particularly Vietnam and China.
Inspectors of the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority seized 5 rhino horns in an industrial building in Diemen, near Amsterdam. The horns belonged to a man and woman from Almere who had offered the horns for sale. The couple has been taken into custody for questioning. The criminal investigation is being conducted by the Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority and the police, and led by the Dutch public prosecutors office.
No information is yet available on the origins of the horns. They could be smuggled from Africa or have been acquired (bought or stolen) in the EU, either from a private collection or a museum or auction house.
Thefts of rhino horns have been rampant across the EU over the last few years. Given the fact that rhino horn is currently worth more than its weight in gold, it is no surprise that organized crime networks operating globally have become involved in this illicit trade.
Press release in Dutch: http://www.vwa.nl/actueel/nieuws/nieuwsbericht/2030365/