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Hong Kong Customs Snares Record Cache of Rhino Horns, Ivory


A customs officer stands guard near seized rhino horns at the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department in Hong Kong, November 15, 2011.

A customs officer stands guard near seized rhino horns at the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department in Hong Kong, November 15, 2011.

Hong Kong customs officials say they have confiscated a record amount of rhino horns and ivory products hidden in a container shipped from South Africa.

Officials say the shipment, valued at $2 million, included 33 rhino horns, 758 ivory chopsticks and 127 ivory bracelets. It arrived Monday in Hong Kong's port from Cape Town.

Authorities have not released its intended final destination, and they say an investigation is ongoing.

Under Hong Kong law, anyone found guilty of importing endangered species for commercial purposes can face a maximum fine of $640,000 and two years imprisonment.

Rhinoceros horn is used in many Asian countries for traditional medicine. Several subspecies of rhinos are believed to have recently become extinct.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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