More ivory smuggled into northern Vietnam port

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Customs officials at Hai Phong Port Tuesday confiscated a ton of ivory illegally imported from Africa, the third seizure of elephant tusks in Hai Phong this year.

The tusks, destined for China, had been cut into pieces and kept in more than 30 sacks in a 20-feet container. The sacks were labeled as containing snail shells, the officials said.

The consignee, a company based in the northern province of Lang Son, denied owning the shipment, the officials said, without disclosing the firm's name.

There is a booming black market in African ivory linked to Asian crime syndicates, experts and delegates said in March at a UN wildlife trade meeting.

China is one of the world's biggest ivory markets with the material traditionally used to make family seals for stamping documents, as well as decorative antiques.

Ivory-based products also sell well to Vietnamese buyers.

Vietnam has banned the ivory trade since 1992.

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