Elephant tusk smuggling running rampant

Hanoi (dpa) – Vietnamese customs agents seized more than 1,000 kilograms of elephant tusks en route to China, officials said Monday.
Agents caught a Chinese man smuggling more than 220 tusks Saturday in a boat across the Ka Long River between Quang Ninh province and Guangxi in China, the provincial customs department said.
According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, most elephant ivory smuggled into Vietnam is ultimately destined for China, but some is sold locally for 770 to 1,200 dollars per kilogram.
The biggest recent tusk haul in Vietnam was made in March 2009 when customs agents in the port city of Hai Phong found more than 6 tons in a container shipped from Tanzania.
In May, agents in Hai Phong discovered nearly 600 kilograms of African elephant tusks disguised as rubber from Tanzania.
International trade in ivory has been banned since 1989 with the exception of occasional auctions from stockpiles.
Author: Pham Bac