Date
29 May 2017
Customs police inspect a haul of ivory tusks. The illegal shipment was declared as sandalwood imported from Uganda. Photos: legaldaily.com.cn
Customs police inspect a haul of ivory tusks. The illegal shipment was declared as sandalwood imported from Uganda. Photos: legaldaily.com.cn

China seizes year’s biggest ivory haul

Mainland Chinese authorities have seized 120 kilograms of illegal ivory tusks, the largest haul this year.

The 57 tusks, mostly from baby elephants, were hidden in boxes declared as sandalwood imported from Uganda, according to Apple Daily.

A Canadian Chinese, surnamed Wong, was arrested in Guangdong while trying to board a flight for Sri Lanka.

Wong confessed to paying US$35,000 for the tusks — US$300 per kilo — while on a buying trip to Uganda for sandalwood.

He told police he was planning to ship the tusks to Guangdong for further processing.

The illegal shipment was hidden in secret compartments beneath wooden planks.

Customs authorities in Xiamen said they have been ramping up monitoring of goods imported from Africa, resulting in the latest discovery.

They said at least 29 elephants were killed for their tusks, with the youngest estimated to be only three years old.

In 2013, they confiscated nearly 12 tons of ivory in transit, estimated to be worth 600 million yuan (US$94 million).

In 1989, China and other countries signed the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Ivory trading has been banned in the country since 1990.

However, ivory sculpture was declared an intangible Chinese cultural heritage in 2006 and in 2009, CITES allowed China to import a limited amount of ivory in order to protect the ivory sculpture industry.

On a recent visit to the United States, President Xi Jinping pledged that all ivory trading in China will be banned.

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EL/DY/RA

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