Airport security are detaining a 21 year old man at Hong Kong International Airport because his luggage contained over $80,000 USD worth of good that could send him to jail for 10 years.
Authorities discovered a black plastic bag wrapped up in his checked luggage. Inside the bag was nearly 7 pounds of odd shapes made out of Keratin, the substance found in human fingernails. But this keratin wasn’t from human beings.
This keratin was from a rhino horn.
What is even worse is that his bagged had traveled through Beira, Mozambique, Johannesburg, South Africa, and Doha, Qatar.
Last year alone, in South Africa, 1,028 rhinos were killed by poachers. That is 3 rhinos killed everyday on average.
Trinkets like the ones just seized in Hong Kong are what is driving the demand for rhino horns. In Eastern medicine the rhino horn is valuable because it is said to cure many ailments like gout and hangovers.
The poachers kill the rhinos only to cut off their horns. Traffickers figure out how to conceal the product sometimes they are disguised as toys, jewelry or lodged into electronics to get these horns to China. China is the biggest market for these illegal horns.