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Wanted gambler seized for smuggling elephant tusks

Tuesday, June 04, 2013, 16:00 GMT+7

A man under a wanted list for gambling has been indicted for another offence: smuggling over 60 kg of elephant tusks by air from Singapore to Vietnam

Police in central Da Nang City have charged Nguyen The Dan, 42, with illegally transporting goods via border. Dan is a native of central Thanh Hoa Province but had resided in Ho Chi Minh City’s Binh Tan District before going to Singapore, police said. Dan was caught hiding 5 parts of tusks weighing about 61.6 kg in his luggage when he arrived at Da Nang Airport from Singapore on December 3, 2012. During investigation, police discovered that Dan had been put under a wanted list by Thanh Hoa’s Tho Xuan District police for fleeing away after being given a suspended sentence for gambling. Dan then fled from Thanh Hoa to Ho Chi Minh City and later managed to go to Singapore for smuggling tusks. Another case of smuggling tusks into Vietnam was discovered last year, when customs officers at the Tan Son Nhat Airport in HCMC seized 30 cut pieces of elephant tusks from the luggage of two Vietnamese passengers arriving from Thailand on July 18, 2012. The two passengers failed to show any documents related to the tusks, which weighed 137 kilograms in total and were valued at US$218,000. They told customs officers they had received the tusks in Thailand for delivery to a man in HCMC.

Another case occurred on November 25, 2012 when police in HCMC arrested Tran Van Thai, director of Thai Minh Import Export Co Ltd in Binh Thanh District, and his deputy Le Van Tu on charges of smuggling.

Thai and Tu carried out procedures to import 24 tons of raw salted cow skin worth $57,375from Singapore to HCMC in June 2012.

However, while inspecting the goods, customs officers found 158 tusks weighing nearly 2.5 tons hidden in 28 wooden boxes in a container.

According to investigations, the tusks originated in Africa and were valued at around VND100 billion (US$5 million).

Vietnam officially banned trade of elephant tusks in 1992.



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