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(Archivs) Photo: AFP
(Archivs) Photo: AFP

Hong Kong makes $1.4M ivory bust

Seizure of over a ton of illegal elephant tusks marks authorities' third biggest operation against smugglers

Associated Press
Published: 01.08.13, 07:19 / Israel Environment

Hong Kong authorities have made their third big seizure of illegal ivory in three months after confiscating more than a ton of the elephant tusks worth $1.4 million.


The city's customs department said it seized 779 pieces of ivory weighing about 2,866 pounds.


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The department said Friday that the ivory was found in a shipping container sent to the Hong Kong port.


The discovery in late October of nearly four tons in two shipments worth $3.4 million was the city's biggest seizure in a single operation.


A shipment found in November was about the same size as the one found Thursday.


The city did not release more details. Most illegal ivory is obtained through the wildlife trade in Africa to be used in ornamental items.


Meanwhile, Thai authorities have seized more than $500,000 worth of rhino horn from passenger's luggage at a Bangkok airport.


Thai Customs officer Khanit Isdul said Sunday that officials acting on a tip-off found four rhino horns in the passenger's luggage at Suvarnabhumi International Airport.


Officials arrested Phan Quangloc, a 56-year-old Vietnamese passenger who arrived with the case from Ethiopia on Sunday. He is expected to face a jail term in Thailand if convicted of smuggling.


Officials estimated the value of the confiscated horns, cut into 6 sections, at 18 million baht ($586,000).


Asia is the main market for smuggled rhino horn, as some people believe it can cure diseases. Trade in rhino parts is banned under international agreements.


AFP contributed to this report



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