Vietnam seizes half a ton of smuggled African ivory

By VnExpress   November 2, 2016 | 09:13 am GMT+7
Vietnam seizes half a ton of smuggled African ivory
Customs officials weigh the seized ivory at Cat Lai Port, Ho Chi Minh City on November 1, 2016. Photo by VnExpress/QT

The latest seizure follows four major ivory smuggling cases discovered in October.

Vietnamese customs and police officials at Ho Chi Minh City's Cat Lai Port seized around 400-700 kg of ivory from two suspected timber shipments sent from Nigeria, according to conflicting local media reports on Tuesday.

The elephant tusks, worth an estimated VND30 billion ($1.3 million), were hidden in the hollowed-out block of timber covered with sawdust. 

The receiving address of the two timber shipments was Tam Phuc Limited Company, which is based in the southern province of Binh Duong.

The elephant tusks were hidden in the hollowed-out block of timber covered with sawdust. Photo by VnExpress/QT

The elephant tusks were hidden in the hollowed-out block of timber covered with sawdust. Photo by VnExpress/QT

On October 6, 21, and 26, customs officials at the Cat Lai seized around 3.5 tons of ivory concealed in timber shipments from Africa.

About 300kg of ivory at Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport was also seized on October 1.

Vietnam outlawed the ivory trade in 1992, but permitted shops to continue trading items that predated the ban. Weak law enforcement has allowed the illegal trade to persist.

In spite of Vietnam's ivory ban, the country remains a top market.

Consumers here use ivory for decorative and medicinal purposes, according to conservation groups. The country also serves as a trafficking hub for tusks bound for other parts of Asia, conservationists say.

Vietnam has brushed off such allegations.

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