Haiphong City’s Department of Customs on February 2 coordinated with the competent authorities to inspect and detect nearly 500 kilograms of elephant tusks illegally imported from Africa through Lach Huyen port, the local media reported.
A representative of the Haiphong Department of Customs said the shipment was registered on the customs declaration as being imported into Vietnam on January 28 by HMD Technicality Technology Joint Stock Company located in Hoa Binh Commune, Thuong Tin District, Hanoi City.
The goods was found in one container on board the XIN WEN ZHOU 147E vessel, which arrived at Lach Huyen port on January 22.
Pursuant to its customs declaration, the goods was declared by the company as bull horns which would be used for manufacturing handicrafts, and originated from Nigeria.
The customs was suspicious of elephant tusks being hidden in the container. Therefore, on February 2, they coordinated with other relevant authorities to inspect the suspected container and detected nearly 500 kilograms of elephant tusks.
Vietnam outlawed ivory trade in 1992, but the country remains a top market for ivory products prized locally for decorative and medicinal purposes, according to conservation groups.
The country is also a busy thoroughfare for tusks trafficked from Africa destined for other parts of Asia, conservationists say. A report from the Environmental Investigation Agency, a London-based NGO, last year ranked Vietnam among the top 10 countries for ivory smuggling.
Since 2009, Vietnamese authorities have been able to seize more than 56 tons of ivory. About 20 tons of ivory linked to Vietnam were seized in other countries in the same period. This is equivalent to nearly 11,500 elephants, local media reported.