Officials of the customs service in Vietnam have revealed that about one ton of illegal ivory shipment from Kenya has been seized.
The illegal ivory shipment from Kenya was said to be hidden in a timber shipment – a common practice among smugglers.
Vietnam is a choice route for the precious tusks smuggled out of Africa heading to the country and other major markets in different parts of Asia.
According to the state-run Thanh Nien newspaper, this latest discovery originated from the Mombasa ports in Kenya and was sent to Malaysia’s Tanjung port before arriving in Vietnam.
It was discovered at a port in Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday, where it was carefully hidden in the logs.
Officially, Vietnam outlawed ivory trade in 1992. There is, however, a thriving black market in most of Asia due to poor law enforcement.
In mid-November, the communist nation will host an international conference on illegal wildlife trade which will be attended by Britain’s Prince William, a vocal critic against illicit wildlife trafficking.
The country is making efforts to try and clean up the illegal trade of ivory and other wildlife due to mounting pressure from organizers and various international bodies.
Earlier this month, about 3.5 tons of ivory was discovered at the city’s Cat Lai port also hidden in crates of wood with a hefty haul of two tons packed into a single shipment.
The International Police Organization (Interpol) is stepping up efforts to stop the illegal trade and enlarging jurisdiction areas.
In the past week, Interpol issued an international arrest warrant against two brothers on the run for over a year, for illegal ivory trade estimated to be worth KSh 576 million.
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The statement reads:
”An international arrest warrant has been issued for both Nicholas Mweri Jefwa, and Samuel Bakari Jefwa wanted by Interpol and the Kenya police for their involvement in possession and dealing in ivory.
”Any person with information as to their whereabouts should contact the nearest police station or the directorate of criminal investigation on 0791573080 or email: [email protected]”
Interpol has in the past helped Kenyan authorities arrest key ivory smugglers. Mombasa businessman Feisal Mohamed Ali was arrested in Tanzania with the help of the organization after months of being on the run.
Mr Faisal was sentenced to 20 years in prison and fined KSh 20 million after he was found guilty of being in possession of 2,152 kilograms of ivory valued at KSh 44 million.