Half a ton of smuggled ivory seized in Saigon

By VnExpress   December 1, 2016 | 06:00 am PT
Half a ton of smuggled ivory seized in Saigon
Customs officials weigh the seized ivory at Cat Lai Port, Ho Chi Minh City on November 1, 2016. Photo by VnExpress/QT
Dozens of shipments of smuggled ivory have been stopped in Vietnam in recent months.

Vietnamese customs and police officials in Ho Chi Minh City have seized 529 kg of ivory from two alleged timber shipments, VietnamPlus reported on Thursday.

The elephant tusks, worth an estimated VND20 billion ($873,000), were hidden in two hollowed-out blocks of timber covered with a mixture of plaster and sand.

In October and November, customs officials in Ho Chi Minh City seized more than five tons of ivory concealed in timber shipments from Africa.

The trade of ivory, pangolins and rhino horn is officially banned in Vietnam, but their use in traditional medicine and for decoration remains widespread, making the country a major market and also a popular transit point for wildlife products destined for neighboring China.

During a recent international wildlife conference held in Hanoi, global activists called for tougher action from Vietnam’s government to help stop the trafficking and save many endangered species from the verge of extinction.

On November 13, the Vietnamese government ordered police to take stronger action and help end wildlife smuggling into the country. Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh said the Ministry of Public Security needs to launch campaigns to wipe out criminal smuggling rings, step up investigations into recent smuggling cases and bring the culprits to trial.

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