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Pattaya Daily News

26 February 2010 :: 12:02:37 pm 14206

Massive Ivory Haul Intercepted By Thailand Customs

Thai customs have successfully intercepted a US$3 million consignment of ivory at Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok. The cargo was falsely labelled as telecommunications equipment bound for Laos.
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Bangkok, the 25th of February 2010 [Pattaya Daily News]: Thai customs authorities announced on Thursday that they had successfully intercepted a massive consignment of elephant tusks from Africa. Over 200 tusks where discovered, believed to be worth US$3.6 million.

The haul, weighing in excess of 2 tonnes has been described as the largest ivory bust in Thailand’s recent history. Customs officials stated that they had been acting on a tip-off that a consignment of ivory from South Africa was bound for Thailand via Dubai. Ivory is in high demand in Asia with the consignment seized in Bangkok believed to be heading for China.

Thailand is a major transit hub for the trafficking of wildlife products and as such has been placed on an international blacklist for illegal trade in endangered species. At present Thailand is attempting to be removed from the list, with Sulma Warne from TRAFFIC, an organisation which monitors the illegal wildlife trade, stating that the recent bust should go some way to helping Thailand’s appeal, although, further steps needed to be taken to crackdown on the smugglers.

“The fines and the punishments that are handed out tend not to be significant enough for people not to engage or re-engage in such criminal activities.  So, we would certainly like to see the enforcement or the punishments ramped up,” said Sulma.

Customs officials have subsequently revealed that a Thai national had come to collect the consignment of ivory and has been arrested. At present it is not clear whether any charges have been laid though. International trade in Ivory was banned by the United Nations in 1989, but smuggling is still prevalent in many parts of Africa and Asia.

Reporter : John Weston   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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