July 29, 2009

440 Pounds Of Ivory Found In Vietnam

Official media reported on Wednesday that Vietnamese customs officials have found 440 pounds of elephant ivory tusks that were illegally imported from Kenya.

Cong An Nhan Dan (People's Police) newspaper said that the tusks were found inside some timber in a container at the northern Hai Phong port.

Authorities are looking for the owner of the container, who did not show up to receive the tusks when they arrived in April, according to the paper. 

The paper did not clarify who the receiver was, or give a street value for the ivory.

Officials from Hai Phong Customers Bureau refused to comment on the case.

Vietnamese communist banned ivory from being traded in 1992, but shops are still able to sell old stocks dating from before then.  Ivory-based products sell well to buyers from Vietnam and other parts of Asia.

In Tanzania last week, six businessmen were charged for smuggling 11 tons of elephant ivory to the Philippines and Vietnam over the previous six months.  The ivory was expected to be worth about $600,0000.