Vietnam has sentenced a man to 12 years in prison for smuggling rhino horn and elephant ivory from Angola, wildlife conservation groups said, adding that tough penalties are an important deterrent.
This Southeast Asian country is both a transport hub for illegal wildlife in Asia and an important consumer.
According to Vietnam Nature Education (ENV), Ninh Ba Dien, 36, was hired by an anonymous person to transport two shipments containing about 12 kilograms of rhino horn and 5 kilograms of elephant ivory from the African country. It arrived.
Dieng was detained at Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi in April after one of his luggage was confiscated during a layover in Qatar.
He was sentenced by the Hanoi People’s Court on Monday.
Vietnam and China remain lucrative markets for elephant tusks, pangolins, tiger parts, and rhino horns, despite a lack of peer-reviewed scientific evidence that they have medicinal value. It is frequently used in traditional medicine throughout Asia.
The trade is illegal, but environmentalists say the law is not always enforced.
However, EVN Deputy Director Bui Thi Ha said that EVN was recently “very pleased to see that the Hanoi People’s Court has applied many harsh penalties to wildlife criminals.”
“Wildlife traffickers will only be deterred by increasing the legal risks associated with illegal wildlife trade,” she added.
More than 60 tonnes of ivory, pangolin scales and rhino horn have been seized at Vietnam’s main shipping ports since 2018, according to ENV’s 2021 report.
In February, a Vietnamese court sentenced a man to 13 years in prison for trafficking nearly 10 tons of rhino horn, pangolin scales and other banned wildlife products from Africa.
A man who smuggled nearly 130 kilograms of rhino horn from Dubai to Vietnam in 2021 was sentenced to 14 years in prison, the country’s longest sentence for a wildlife trafficking conviction.