Police at the China border in northern Quang Ninh Province on Friday intercepted nearly 150 kilograms of elephant tusks being smuggled to the neighboring country.
Thirty of the tusks were whole while 15 had been cut. They were found hidden in the trunk, the floor and under the bonnet of a car driven by Le Van Cuong, 34, from the northern province of Nghe An. The car had violated traffic regulations and the police stopped the car for inspection.
There were four other men in the car: Ho Van Cuong, 31, Le Van Dien, 42, Doan Ngoc Hoan, 36, and Doan Ngoc Tuan, 35, all from Nghe An Province.
They had put police hats on the car dashboard to deceive the authorities, the police said. Police said the tusks were brought from Nghe An and were on their way to being sold in China. Dealers in the case have not yet been identified.
The tusks, worth around VND2.5 billion (US$130,800) according to investigators, have been transferred to economic investigators of Quang Ninh Police for further investigation.
Vietnam banned the ivory trade in 1992 but shops can still sell stocks dating from before the ban. This allows some to restock illegally with recently-produced items, wildlife activists have said.