More elephant tusks hidden in seashell crates seized in Vietnam

HANOI - Customs officials in Vietnam's northern province of Hai Phong seized ivory tusks weighing over two tons concealed inside a container imported from Malaysia in the second case of its kind this month, state media reported Tuesday.

The containers, which claimed to contain seashells, were found to contain 2.4 tons of elephant tusks, state-run newspaper Tuoi Tre reported, quoting customs officials.

On October 4 customs officials discovered a container from Malaysia, also said to contain seashells, carrying 2.1 tons of elephant tusks. It was bound for China.

The biggest ivory seizure to date in Vietnam was in March 2009 when customs agents in Hai Phong found more than 6 tons of tusks in a container shipped from Tanzania.

According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, most ivory smuggled into Vietnam is destined for China but some is sold locally for between 770 to 1,200 dollars per kilogram.

International trade in ivory has been banned since 1989 with the exception of occasional auctions from stockpiles.

- Sapa

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