Rhino horn smuggler does it again inspite of warning

By W. P. Weerawardena at the Airport

Customs officials at the Katunayake airport fined and arrested a man attempting to smuggle a rhino horn valued at around Rs. 10 million to Bangkok last morning.

The suspect, a 50-year-old antique dealer in Fort, had arrived at the airport to board flight TG 308 to Bangkok. The rhino horn weighing around 1.2 kg was found hidden among the suspect’s garments in his luggage, Customs officials said.

Deputy Customs Director, Mali Piyasena said the same suspect had been arrested three weeks ago too while trying to smuggle to Bangkok a rhino horn valued at over Rs. 10 million and weighing around 1.5 kg. In that instance he had been given a warning and released.

Mr. Piyasena said exporting or importing such items were prohibited under the Fauna and Flora Act.

Customs said the suspect who was fined Rs. 100,000, had claimed that the rhino horns belonged to one of his ancestors who had bought them from foreign hunters who had come to Sri Lanka.

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