|Rhino horns captured in the case. — VNA/VNS Photo|Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — A man from the capital city is being investigated for keeping 18 pieces of animal horns at his house in Hoàng Mai District, the Tiền Phong (Vanguard) newspaper reported.
The horns were identified as rhino horns by the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources (under the Việt Nam Academy of Science and Technology), the Hà Nội police said on Monday.
They weigh a total of 13kg and can be traded in the black markets for hundreds of millions of dollars, the police said.
The police inspected the house on No 168 on Định Công Street last Friday night and caught house owner Nguyễn Anh Sơn, 50, who was trying to escape from the second floor carrying cardboard boxes containing 14 pieces of horns.
Sơn voluntarily turned in another four pieces during the investigation.
Sơn said he had received the horns from two strangers around 1pm the same day.
Two men called out to Sơn while he was driving his motorbike through the Lủ Bridge in Kim Giang Street in Thanh Xuân District, asked him where he lived, and followed him to his house.
They then asked Sơn to keep the two cardboard boxes, until someone came to collect them, and promised to pay him VNĐ5 million (US$220).
Sơn said they told him the boxes contained buffalo and cow horns.
Further investigation is underway.
The demand for rhino horns has been rising in some Asian countries in recent years, including Việt Nam, since many people in these nations believe rhino horns can cure illnesses, a claim not corroborated by science. Conservationists warned that rhinos will become extinct within the next 10 years if poaching is not stopped. — VNS