HK grabs large shipment of illegal ivory

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 July, 2013, 7:49pm
UPDATED : Monday, 22 July, 2013, 7:55pm


HONG KONG (AP) — Customs officials said Friday they had made Hong Kong's biggest seizure of illegal ivory tusks in several years, confiscating more than two tons of elephant tusks worth an estimated $2.25 million.

The officials said that 1,148 pieces of ivory tusks were found in a container from Togo that was declared to be carrying shipping planks.

Simon Ng, head of port control at Hong Kong Customs, said Friday that the tusks were thought to be from young elephants because the average weight of the tusks was only 1.9 kilograms (4.1 pounds), lighter than in past cases.

Wildlife activists blame China's growing presence in Africa for an unprecedented surge in poaching of elephants for their tusks, most of which are believed to be smuggled into China and Thailand to make ivory ornaments.

Wong Wai-hung, an official with the customs office's cargo examination section, said it was the biggest ivory smuggling case since 2010.

Officials would not say if any arrests had been made in the case.