Saturday, 14 November 2015

We Need the US to get a Grip on Transnational Movement of Illicit Goods

Press Release, 'Antiques Dealer Sentenced in Manhattan to Two Years in Prison for Smuggling Cups Made from Rhinoceros Horns', November 13, 2015
Linxun Liao, 35, a citizen of Canada, was sentenced yesterday in Manhattan federal court to two years in prison for his role in a wildlife trafficking scheme in which he purchased and smuggled 16 “libation cups” carved from rhinoceros horns and worth more than $1 million from the United States to China [...]. Liao pleaded guilty on June 30, 2015 [...] admitting to illegally smuggling rhinoceros horn objects from the United States.
Were those cups made from the body parts of Californian Coastal Rhinos, or of the Indiana Prairie Rhino? Seriously, not "one" but at least sixteen rhino horn cups passed through US 'border controls' with no problem and were only detected when someone risked taking some of them across US borders a second time. It would seem that the smugglers themselves assess the risk of being caught by the Americans as not very high. The US is one of the largest world markets and hub in the trade in all manner of illicit (not to mention dangerous) items and commodities, it is time to make their border checks far more effective than hitherto to help stamp out the participation of US citizens in illicit transnational dealings.

Vignette: 2010 Importer's manual

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