By Beth Main
A ring of rhino horn smugglers, all Chinese nationals, have been busted this week in the US and charged with contravening US and international law.
Zhifei Li, 28, was indicted for international smuggling by federal grand juries in Newark, New Jersey, and Miami. His friend and business associate Shusen Wei, 44, was then charged with trying to bribe a federal agent in connection with Li’s case. On Wednesday their buddy Qing Wang was also charged with smuggling rhino horn products from Hong Kong to New York. Wang was involved in smuggling libation cups (the kind of cup you offer a drink to your ancestors in) made of rhino horn which some Chinese believe bring good health.
The BBC reports:
Mr Li is also accused of trying to buy two rhino horns for $59,000 (£38,000) in a hotel room in Miami in January from an undercover fish and wildlife officer. He also asked the undercover officer to procure more horns and send them to Hong Kong.
The arrests were made as part of ‘Operation Crash’, a joint effort by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Justice Department to crack down on black market trading of rhino horns. All rhinoceros species are currently endangered.