Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Malaysia a heaven for transit of Ivory

Actually it is quite easy to detect this type of smuggling. Any shipment from Africa continent that has elephant population should be inspected thoroughly. The frequency of successful seizures indicate there could be more undetected shipments. Is our customs so incompetent that they need public tip-off?


Tuesday December 13, 2011
S’gor customs seize elephant tusks, ivory handicraft worth RM4mil

PORT KLANG: The Selangor Customs Department busted an attempt by an international ivory syndicate to smuggle 15 tonnes of elephant tusks and suspected ivory-made handicraft worth RM4mil at Westport near here on Tuesday.

Department director Datuk Azis Yacub said the tusks originated from Kenya and the handicraft were found in a 20-foot container that was detained in Westport on Thursday and inspected thoroughly Monday.

"The seizure followed a public tip-off. Upon full inspection, the enforcement officers discovered the elephant tusks in brown boxes tucked behind the container, together with several other boxes containing handicraft," he said at a press conference on Tuesday.

He said initial investigations showed that the tusks, declared as "soapstone-made handicraft," were heading for transshipment to Tanjong Pelepas port from the port of Mombasa, Kenya, before reaching their final destination at Sihanoukville, Cambodia.

"We managed to intercept the goods at Westport," he said.

Azis said Customs would send some of the handicraft, believed to be made from ivory, to the Chemistry Department soon to ascertain their true material.

He also said that no arrests had been made so far, and the case is being investigated under Section 133 (1) (a) of the Customs Act 1967 for wrongful declaration of goods.

If convicted, the parties involved can be fined up to RM500,000 or imprisoned for up to five years, or both. This was the fourth attempt to smuggle elephant tusks into the country this year.

In September, the Customs Department foiled an attempt to smuggle two tonnes of elephant tusks worth RM3mil into Westport.

It was also reported that more than 1,000 elephant tusks were seized by local authorities when they smashed two attempts to smuggle them through the Pasir Gudang and Butterworth ports over the past two months. - Bernama

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