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Vietnam seizes cache of smuggled elephant tusks, third this year

mercredi 26 mai 2010

Hanoi - Vietnamese customs inspectors have discovered more than a ton of elephant tusks hidden in a shipping container full of snail shells from Africa, an official said Wednesday.

It was the third seizure of elephant ivory this year and the sixth in the past two years at the northern port of Haiphong, a transfer point for smuggled ivory from Africa to the lucrative Chinese market.

Ngo Manh Tuan, deputy head of the Haiphong customs department, said the container’s documents showed the recipient was a company in the northern province of Lang Son, which borders China.

Tuan said the company, which he declined to identify, had refused delivery of the container and claimed not to be the owner of its contents.

The police newspaper An Ninh Thu Do reported inspectors had opened the container Tuesday after receiving a tip.

International trade in ivory has been banned since 1989 with the exception of occasional auctions from stockpiles.

According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), most elephant ivory smuggled into Vietnam is ultimately destined for China, but some is sold locally. A report issued by the WWF in 2008 found ivory fetched 770 to 1,200 dollars per kilogram on the Vietnamese black market.

Earth Times News 26 May 2010

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