Men caught smuggling elephant tusks to northern Vietnam

TN News

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Vietnamese police have detained two people who were caught smuggling 82 kilograms of elephant tusks from the central province of Nghe An to Hai Phong, a port city near China.


Nguyen Huu Hong, 40 and Ngo Thanh Ly, 38, from Nghe An are being investigated for illegally transporting elephant tusks,Thai Binh Province police said..


Hong was driving Ly's bus with 26 elephant tusks attached underneath the vehicle when he broke traffic rules and was stopped by Thai Binh police on Sunday.


The tusks were discovered when police kept the vehicle in order to carry out safety checks.


Ly said a stranger had asked him to carry the tusks to the northern port city of Hai Phong for VND150,000 (US$8) a kilo. Hong was also aware of the tusks.


This year, Hai Phong customs have reported several cases where tons of elephant tusks have been smuggled from overseas into Vietnam to be exported to a third country, mostly China.


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.


Ivory-based products sell well to buyers from Vietnam and around the Asia region.


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