Vietnamese man fined $7,000 for smuggling ivory accessories into Singapore

By Staff reporters   August 2, 2017 | 08:19 pm PT
The man even used his family to try and carry the contraband through the airport.

A Vietnamese man was fined SGD10,000 ($7,360) on Wednesday for smuggling ivory products into Singapore, The Straits Times quoted a statement from the country's Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) as saying.

Do Trong Hoang, 33, and his family were stopped upon arrival at Changi Airport on July 14 following a tip-off.

Singaporean authorities discovered two ivory bird cage accessories in his luggage, as well as four ivory bracelets on him and his family. The items were seized and Hoang was arrested.

The smuggled products are understood to have been obtained in Vietnam, according to The Straits Times.

The global trade in elephant ivory, with rare exceptions, has been 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.

In Singapore, those found guilty of illegally importing/exporting, possessing, trading or selling wildlife species, including their parts and products such as ivory, can be fined up to SGD500,000 and/or sentenced to two years in prison.

Vietnam also outlawed the ivory trade in 1992, but the country remains a top market for ivory products which are prized locally for decorative purposes and for traditional medicine, despite there being no proof of its medicinal qualities.

Weak law enforcement in the country has allowed a black market to flourish, and Vietnam is also a busy thoroughfare for tusks trafficked from Africa destined for other parts of Asia, mainly China.

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