South Africa

Hard to spot: criminals find new ways to smuggle rhino horns

International traffickers have tried many ways to smuggle African rhino horns to Asia, concealing them inside wooden Buddha statues, stashing horn pieces in lobster heads kept in a refrigerated container and disguising horn portions as the bases of painted statues.

Now, conservationists say, some criminal groups are processing rhino horns into powder and trinkets in South Africa before export, a trend that could reflect changing consumer tastes and make it harder for law enforcement to intercept the illegal cargo.

The development highlights the difficulty of countering criminal syndicates, some of which include Chinese nationals, which show versatility in the face of...

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