One person has been arrested after the Green Scorpions foiled an alleged lion bone-smuggling attempt at OR Tambo International Airport on Tuesday.
The bones, which were destined for Malaysia, were discovered when a crate arrived at the airport for shipment without proper documentation.
“The environmental management inspectors were alerted to the suspicious shipment on 1 October after it was discovered that there was no booking for the shipment of the lion bones,” said environment, forestry and fisheries department spokesperson Albi Modise.
“Three members of the Green Scorpions were joined by a member of the police’s Crime Intelligence unit.
“According to the transportation document, the shipment had been misdeclared. When the shipment was inspected, 12 boxes of lion bones, wrapped in aluminium foil and weighing 342kg, were discovered.
“During a follow-up operation [that included] members of the Hawks, Ekurhuleni metro police, police Crime Intelligence and the Green Scorpions, a person was arrested in Kempton Park and taken to the OR Tambo International Airport police station for questioning. Investigations are ongoing.”
Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Barbara Creecy congratulated the Green Scorpions for the arrest.
“The success of the joint operation once again confirms that the sharing of information and collaboration between the different law enforcement entities is key in South Africa’s fight against wildlife crime,” Creecy said.