Vietnam in denial, blames China for rhino slaughter

By Julian Rademeyer

Bangkok, Thailand – The head of Vietnam’s wildlife trade authority has angrily dismissed accusations that his country is the driving force behind the illicit trade in rhino horn, describing them as “bullshit”. He went on to blame China for the slaughter.

In a rare interview during the triennial conference of parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), Do Quang Tung, who is the acting head of Vietnam’s Cites Management Authority, lashed out at critics who have identified the country as a “rapacious” consumer of rhino horn.

“I don’t care [what they say],” he said. “That is a bullshit report. Vietnam is not the main destination.”

He claimed that Vietnamese intelligence agencies had identified China as the destination for “99% of the horn that goes through Vietnam” and that “we do not have much evidence that Vietnam is the main consumer country”.

“Most of the complete rhino horns are illegally exported to China,” he said. “Only the chopped up horn is used in Vietnam … Up to this stage, we cannot control the border. Every day they have a massive shipment, not only of wildlife, but everything going through [to China].

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