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Vietnam seizes illegal ivory from Malaysia

August 26, 2015

Customs officials in Vietnam have confiscated illegally imported ivory for the second time in two weeks. The elephant tusks and pangolin scales were hidden amongst red beans in a container imported from Malaysia.

Seized ivories and ivory products prior to its destruction in Brussels, Belgium (Photo: Xinhua/Gong Bing)
Image: Imago/Gong Bing

According to the Vietnamese VNExpress news website, the police seized ivory in central Danang's Tien Sa port on Tuesday.

"This is a very big case. At least a ton of elephant tusks and pangolin scales were hidden inside the container," said Dang Van Toan, head of the control division of Da Nang customs.

In a similar case last week, Vietnamese police busted two tons of ivory from Nigeria.

Earlier this month, officials confiscated more than 700 kilograms of rhino horns and elephant tusks imported from Mozambique.

Ivory products are popular in the Southeast Asian country. A kilogram of elephant tusk sells for at least $2,100 (1,822 euros) on the black market - around double the country's annual per capita GDP.

Vietnamese activists have long campaigned to convince people not to buy ivory products, but they haven't had much success.

Trading in ivory has been a crime since 1989 following the hunt of scores of elephants in Africa. Their population had dropped from millions in the mid-20th century to just 600,000 by the end of the 1980s.

shs/msh (AFP, dpa)