Vietnam seizes 1.4 tons of African ivory smuggled via fishing boat

By Minh Trang   September 20, 2017 | 11:34 am GMT+7
Vietnam seizes 1.4 tons of African ivory smuggled via fishing boat
Pieces of elephant tusks seized by police in Bac Lieu Province on Saturday. Photo by VnExpress/Minh Trang

The shipment had arrived from Malaysia and was on its way to the north of the country.

Police in Vietnam's southern province of Bac Lieu seized 1.4 tons of African elephant ivory on Sunday which had been smuggled into the country via fishing boat from Malaysia.

The ivory had already been loaded onto a truck and was destined for delivery to customers in the north.

Police are trying to track down the owner of the shipment.

The global trade in elephant ivory has been widely outlawed since 1989 after populations of the African giants dropped from millions in the mid-20th century to around 600,000 by the end of the 1980s, AFP reported.

The population is now believed to be some 415,000, with 30,000 illegally killed each year.

Elephant ivory can fetch up to $1,100 per kilogram (2.2 pounds), the report said.

Vietnam outlawed the ivory trade in 1992, but the country remains a top market for ivory products used for decorative purposes or in traditional medicine, despite the lack of scientific evidence.

The country is also a busy transit point for tusks trafficked from Africa to China and other parts of Asia.

Earlier this month, authorities in Saigon also discovered 1.3 tons of ivory hidden in asphalt barrels which was on its way from Africa to Cambodia.