Vietnam’s Coast Guard and Customs on Friday seized 500 kilograms of ivory in the northern city of Hai Phong after it was smuggled into the country by a local firm.
The ivory, which was mixed in together with a batch of cow horn, was imported from Nigeria to Lach Huyen Port in Hai Phong.
Nguyen Huu Dung, a customs official in Hai Phong, said when screening the cow horn, customs officers had detected abnormal signs. As a result, they used specialized tools to check the shipment more carefully and found the hidden ivory.
Major General Vu Trung Kien, deputy commander of Vietnam’s Coast Guard, said signs of a ring trading and smuggling ivory from Nigeria to Vietnam had emerged since mid-October last year and the Coast Guard tightened inspections since then.
The Coast Guard and police are investigating the ring further.
Vietnam outlawed the ivory trade in 1992, but the country remains a top market for the product, which is prized for decorative and medicinal purposes, according to conservation groups.
Vietnam is among the top 10 countries and territories in terms of wildlife trafficking, according to a December 2017 study by wildlife trade monitoring group TRAFFIC and Australia’s University of Adelaide.
Mainland China, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Laos, and Indonesia were also on the list.
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