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Vietnam Customs seizes 2 tons of ivory tusks

Vietnam Customs seizes 2 tons of ivory tusks

HANOI: Customs officials in Vietnam’s northern province of Hai Phong seized ivory tusks weighing more than 2 tons concealed inside a container imported from Malaysia, authorities said.

“We discovered suspicious signs about the container,” said Nguyen Kien Giang, director of division number 3 of Hai Phong Customs. “We decided to scan and open it and discovered the elephant tusks hidden inside packages of sea shells.”

Each of the tusks, which were found on Friday, were cut into three or four pieces, he said. The container was bound for China. The biggest ivory seizure to date in Vietnam was in March 2009 when customs agents in Hai Phong found more than 6 tons in a container shipped from Tanzania.

According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, most ivory smuggled into Vietnam is destined for China but some is sold locally for between 770 to 1 200 dollars per kilogram. International trade in ivory has been banned since 1989 with the exception of occasional auctions from stockpiles.