General News

Light-fingered foreigners have been helping themselves to other passengers' belongings.

Airport security in Ho Chi Minh City caught a Vietnamese passenger attempting to illegally transport wildlife products on Friday.

Dinh Van Tuyen, 41, was trying to board a flight to Hanoi from Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhat Airport when airport security discovered 16 small, ivory-colored objects hidden inside his sandals during screening.

Authorities conducted a baggage check, and found three bundles of animal hair and a tin box containing 66 ivory-colored bars. With assistance from the Institute of Tropical Biology, the objects were identified as 16 lion fangs, six sets of elephant tail hair and 66 bars of elephant ivory. All the wildlife products originated from endangered animals in Africa.

Earlier this month, customs officers at Tan Son Nhat Airport also seized 4 kilograms (8.8 pounds) of ivory accessories and 200 grams (0.44 pounds) of pangolin scales from a Vietnamese woman returning from Africa. Another 5 kilograms (11 pounds) of rhino horn was seized from two Vietnamese passengers in April as part of the country's continued efforts to combat the illegal wildlife trade.

Vietnam is considered a hotspot for the illegal trade of wildlife products, which are used for medicine and decorations and often considered a status symbol.

It is illegal to hunt, kill, trade or transport wild animals in Vietnam, but the high returns continue to lure many people into trafficking networks.