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Suspect bust while trafficking lion bones

Media Statement
Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (HAWKS)

GAUTENG – A 43-year-old man will appear in the Kempton Park Magistrates’ Court on Monday, 26 June 2023 after he was arrested at the OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA) earlier today, 23 June 2023.

The suspect was arrested when the Bidvest security guards at the airport discovered suspicious items in his luggage. The Germiston based Hawks’ Economic Protected Resources members were alerted. The luggage was opened and lion bones were recovered. The suspect was about to board a flight to Vietnam via Qatar.

Police further seized foreign currency, a cellphone and two passports. During the preliminary investigation, it was discovered that it is the carcasses of five lions. The suspect will be charged for illegal dealing in wildlife, possession of lion bones and contravening the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act (NEMBA).   

The Hawks, Bidvest security, Crime Intelligence and an official from the Department of Environmental Affairs were at the scene. The investigation to arrest more suspects is continuing.




Captain Bonnie Nxumalo

082 373 2408





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