Vietnam seizes ivory products, pangolin scales shipped from Africa

By Quoc Thang   May 4, 2017 | 09:39 pm GMT+7
Vietnam seizes ivory products, pangolin scales shipped from Africa
Ivory accessories hidden inside a frozen salmon. Photo courtesy of Tan Son Nhat Airport Customs

The illegal haul was hidden inside frozen salmon and tins of powdered milk.

Customs officials in Ho Chi Minh City detained a Vietnamese woman on Thursday after finding ivory products and pangolin scales in her luggage.

The 34-year-old woman landed at Tan Son Nhat International Airport on a flight from Angola, but was stopped by customs officials after they saw her acting suspiciously. A total of 4 kilograms (8.8 pounds) of elephant ivory accessories and 200 grams (0.44 pounds) of ground pangolin scales were found in her luggage.

The products were split into small packages, wrapped in aluminum foil and hidden inside frozen salmon and tins of powdered milk. The haul had an estimated value of nearly VND300 million ($13,000).

Police are conducting further investigations.

Last month, customs officials at Tan Son Nhat airport and anti-smuggling police also seized 5 kilograms (11 pounds) of rhino horn from two Vietnamese passengers returning from Africa.

Vietnam is considered a hotspot for the illegal trade of wildlife products, which are used for medicine and decorations and often considered a status symbol.

Vietnamese law prohibits the hunting, killing, trade and transportation of wild animals, but the high returns continue to lure many people into trafficking networks.