Fake rhino horn mystery

2012-03-02 00:00

CONSERVATIONISTS were in an uproar on Twitter yesterday after rhino horns were apparently found in a car after an accident on the N3 near Johannesburg.

The first reports of the find came just after 7 am, when a Fiat Uno was rear-ended by a taxi near Bedfordview.

While waiting for police to arrive, one of the occupants was seen to take a bag out of the car and hide it in the bush.

When police retrieved the bag it contained what looked like bloodied rhino horns, and the car’s two occupants were arrested.

However, further investigation proved that the horns had been carved from wood and daubed with chicken blood, said Hawks spokesperson Colonel McIntosh Polela.

To deepen the mystery, one of the men was wearing a Kruger National Park uniform, but denied that he worked there.

“We are questioning the suspects to find out what they were actually up to,” said Polela.

The men were set to appear in court on Monday, but are expected to be released tomorrow.

Shortly after the news of the arrests spread on Twitter, calls were made for protests outside the Bedfordview police station, but these did not materialise.

RIGHT: The Fiat Uno in which two men were travelling, after it was rear-ended by a taxi.

In January the Zimbabwe daily Newsday reported that a senior state official had been arrested for the illegal possession of a rhino horn, but was later released when it was found to be carved from wood.

In October City Press reported on a man near Musina, Limpopo, who carved fake rhino horns and boasted that he could sell them for between R15 000 and R25 000 each.

It is suspected that the men arrested yesterday might have been wanting to lure a buyer for their “rhino horns” and then rob him of the money brought for the deal.

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