French customs seize big ivory haul bound for Vietnam: report

By Lan Chi, Thanh Nien News

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French customs officials last week held 136 kilograms of ivory shipped from the Democratic Republic of Congo en route to Vietnam, the biggest ivory haul in nine years, AFP reported.
Officials at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport found a dozen elephant tusks chopped into 37 pieces hidden in cases under aluminum plates, possibly to avoid detection.
The haul is the biggest seized by French customs officials since December 2006, when 600 kilos was uncovered.
On Monday, Pham Ngoc Thy, a press attaché of the Vietnamese Embassy in France, told Thanh Nien they had not been informed of the haul.
The embassy will keep an eye on the case, he said.
The price of ivory in Asian “black market” has tripled from around EUR500 per kilogram several years ago to EUR1,500 (US$1,700) at present.
Last year, French officials confiscated 234 kilograms of raw ivory and 476 ivory-made ornaments in total.
Activists say more than 100,000 elephants were shot dead for the ivory black market in Asia, especially in China, between 2010 and 2012.

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