During a joint operation, various stakeholders including SAPS and Customs and Excise, seized a bag containing rhino horns and arrested a woman at the O R Tambo International Airport yesterday.
Acting on intelligence, the team identified and intercepted the specified suitcase at the luggage transfer area of the International Terminal within the Central Terminal Building.
Immediately after the detection of the suitcase, the passenger linked to the suitcase was identified and escorted to the search area. The bag was scanned and then physically searched confirming that it indeed contained pieces of rhino horn.
It has been established from the preliminary investigations that the suitcase contained 11 pieces of rhino horn weighing approximately 20 kilograms, it arrived from Lusaka, Zambia and was destined for Hong Kong via a SAA flight. The suspect is a 24 year old woman who is currently in police custody and she will be facing charges in terms of the Endangered Species Act.
The intensified collaborative efforts to curb criminality within and around the O R Tambo International Airport are proving to be very successful. Since the implementation of our revised strategies the team foiled a brazen robbery at the cargo terminal of the airport. Last week the team, as part of our proactive measures, identified a vehicle with four armed men suspected to be part of a group that follows people from the airport and subsequently rob them. Also we have not had any reports of people being followed from the airport and robbed.
Both the proactive and reactive measures are proving to be effective and we will continue to find new innovative ways to remain a step ahead of the criminals.