Vietnam customs seize two statues made of African elephant tusk ivory

Two ‘decorative statues' made of African elephant tusk ivory were discovered having been sent from France to Vietnam by air

The two statues made of African elephant tusk ivory seized by customs officers at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City

Vietnamese customs officers have discovered two statues madeof African elephant tusk ivory stashed in a consignment of furniture imported from France by air. 

The Tan Son Nhat International Airport Customs on Tuesday said that they had detected the two statues while inspecting a suspicious shipment sent from France to a woman, D.T.M., in Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City.

The statues, which are ivory white and weigh 2.31kg in total, were labeled in the customs declaration form as 'decorative statues,' the customs said.

The customs force had sent the statues to the Criminal Science Sub-Institute for testing, and the agency concluded that the items were made of African elephant tusk ivory.

African tusk ivory is listed in the World’s Red Book and Vietnam officially banned the trade of elephant tusks in 1992, customs officers said.

Airport customs have seized the two statues for investigation.

Many other cases of smuggled elephant ivory have been discovered at Tan Son Nhat in the past few years.

Most recently, customs officers at the airport found 43.5 kilograms of African elephant tusks hidden in the baggage of two Vietnamese people traveling home from Dubai on March 14.

Another case occurred on June 10, 2014, when customs officers at the same airport discovered 77 African elephant tusks, worth over US$200,000, hidden in a package previously declared to contain personal belongings.

The package was suspected of being sent from Nigeria through Doha International Airport in Qatar to the airport in Ho Chi Minh City on that day, customs officers said.

The biggest tusk smuggling case in Vietnam was uncovered in March 2009, when customs officers in the northern city of Hai Phong seized nearly seven tons of the contraband goods in a container shipped from Tanzania.

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