Hong Kong customs seize over a tonne of smuggled ivory

November 16, 2012 8:01 am
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“569 pieces of ivory tusks, weighing about 1,330 kilogrammes (2,932 pounds)” were seized on Thursday, officials said in a statement/FILE
HONG KONG, Nov 16 – Hong Kong customs officers have seized a shipping container carrying more than a tonne of ivory worth around $1.37 million, officials said.

“569 pieces of ivory tusks, weighing about 1,330 kilogrammes (2,932 pounds)” were seized on Thursday, officials said in a statement.

Customs officers made the southern Chinese city’s largest seizure in October when they intercepted almost four tonnes of ivory worth about $3.4 million, hidden in shipments from Kenya and Tanzania.

The 1,209 pieces of raw ivory tusk and a small number of ivory ornaments were discovered in two containers masked “plastic scrap” and “beans”.

The international trade in elephant ivory, with rare exceptions, has been outlawed since 1989 after populations of the African giants dropped from the millions in the mid-20th century to some 600,000 by the end of the 1980s.

But the illicit trade in Asia is fuelled by demand for ivory carvings and jewellery.

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