Vietnam seizes huge haul of smuggled ivory

By Dinh Muoi, Thanh Nien News

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Elephant tusks seized by Tan Son Nhat Airport customs officers on June 10. Photo credit: HCMC Customs Agency Elephant tusks seized by Tan Son Nhat Airport customs officers on June 10. Photo credit: HCMC Customs Agency

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Vietnamese customs officers seized 77 elephant tusks, on Tuesday, as they were being smuggled into Vietnam at Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport.
The 110 kilograms (242.5 lbs)  of tusks were hidden in a consignment sent from Nigeria to Vietnam through Doha.
The consignment was declared as personal items and had been sent by a man identified only as B.J.
The recipient was identified as S.S.
The seizure was executed by the airport’s customs in cooperation with the General Department of Vietnam Customs’ anti-smuggling department.
Customs officers estimated the tusks to be worth about VND4.4 billion ($207,640).
The Tan Son Nhat Customs Agency is investigating the case further.
In March, airport customs officers seized more than 13 kilograms of African rhino horn from a Vietnamese man as he stepped off a flight from Doha. 
The horns were estimated to be worth VND15 billion.
On June 8, border guards in Kon Tum Province arrested a 30-year-old man for smuggling 14 kilograms of elephant tusks from Laos to Vietnam.
In parts of Asia, ivory has been regarded for centuries as a precious decoration. The ivory trade has been illegal in Vietnam since the 1990s.

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