Czech authorities uncover major rhino horn smuggling case

23 July 2013

Czech authorities have seized 24 white rhino horns and charged 16 suspected members of an international ring smuggling the horns to Asia. Details of the seizure were released by the country’s customs department.

Customs and police officials revealed that the horns were worth approximately $5 million and were destined for Asia where they would fetch high prices on the illegal black market.

Police and customs officials said the criminal syndicates had links to ‘pseudo-hunting’ in South Africa. The gang managed to get around legal loopholes by employing proxy hunters who can get permission to legally shoot one rhino in South Africa and take the horn as a trophy, strictly for non-commercial purposes.

Concerns of Czech proxy hunters were reported by CITES earlier this year (see news article February 2013 Is the Czech Republic a new player in the illegal rhino horn trade?) when authorities became aware of an increase in hunting permit applications from other countries not historically associated with rhino trophy hunting including The Czech Republic and Poland. 

Talking of the proxy hunters, customs officer Ales Hruby said “they were paid by the gang to hunt rhinos in the South African Republic bring the rhino horns as hunters’ trophies to the EU,”

The Czech authorities did not give the nationalities of the suspects.

The suspects face up to 8-years in prison if found guilty.


2 thoughts on “Czech authorities uncover major rhino horn smuggling case

  1. thank goodness they’ve been seized and the the people arrested! It breaks my heart to hear of all the deaths that are and have been occurring over the last 5 yrs. or so… stiff penalties should be in place for those who participate in such practices. so many rhinos have been lost I sometimes wonder if it would be better if their horns are cut off and sold in the right way instead of people killing them just for the horn… even as I wrote that it still does’nt sound right, or fair to the animal… poachers should be shot.period! If the poaching can’t or won’t be stopped then maybe like i said you can humanly cut them off to supply the demand from the asian countries who feel they need them… truthfully its better than losing them all to poachers… The world is a sad, sad, place today, and i’m just sick of all the killing whether it’s rhinos, elephants, or whatever… tragic…thats what it is….

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