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Princess Accused of Trying to Smuggle Rhinoceros Horns

A Bhutanese princess was arrested in Taiwan on Friday, accused of trying to smuggle 22 rhinoceros horns into the island in her luggage, an airport police spokesman said.

Princess Deki Wangchuck, 43, was taken into custody and police recommended to prosecutors that she be charged with smuggling and violating conservation laws. It was one of Taiwan’s biggest hauls of endangered wildlife parts.

If charged and convicted, she could be sentenced to up to seven years in prison. The spokesman said she had a diplomatic passport, but Taiwan and Bhutan do not have formal diplomatic relations.

Police seized the rhino horns, weighing 31 lbs and worth at least $740,000, as Wangchuck arrived on a flight from Hong Kong, the spokesman said. Police also confiscated nine bear’s gallbladders.

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Chinese believe that consuming rhino horn, ground into powder, can reduce fever. Taiwan banned the import of rhino horn in 1985.


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