Breaking News! Vietnamese National Arrested In Malaysia With 2 Suitcases Full Of Ivory

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A close-up of some of the partially processed ivory pieces seized in photo by Elizabeth John/Traffic

According to a Press Conference held today, another Vietnamese national has been arrested for trying to smuggle illegal ivory through the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

A report issued by wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic confirmed that Royal Malaysian Customs officials apprehended the man who had travelled to Malaysia from Addis Ababa on Ethiopian airlines late last week after discovering he had checked-in two suitcases full of partially processed ivory pieces.

A Malaysian Customs officer displays the contents of one of the two suitcases seized in photo by: Uma Kanapathy / TRAFFIC

He now faces a possible fine of between 10 and 20 times the value of the seized shipment, and up to three years in jail, or both.

Dato Hamzah Sundang, Director of Customs at KLIA said they were looking into where in Africa the suspect who maintains a permanent resident status in Mozambique had begun his journey.

Reportedly, this marked the third time the alleged smuggler had traveled to Malaysia.

“Recent seizures of rhino horn, pangolin scales, and tortoises from Africa shows that illegal traders continue to use Malaysia when smuggling wildlife products into and through Asia,” said Kanitha Krishnasamy, TRAFFIC’s Acting Regional Director for Southeast Asia. “It is important that African, Malaysian and Vietnamese authorities work together to break the links in this cross-continental illegal wildlife trade.”

As reported by WAN in June, authorities in Indonesia arrested two suspected wildlife smugglers after finding more than 200 pangolins worth an estimated 190,000.00 U.S. dollars in a port warehouse in Sumatra. The alleged perpetrators who were thought to be part of a larger syndicate were allegedly preparing the haul to be smuggled by ship to Malaysia.

During the same time frame, WAN reported news that customs officers in Malaysia seized 330 endangered tortoises at Kuala Lumpur airport.

Vietnamese nationals were previously caught trafficking ivory to Malaysia in March of last year after arriving at KLIA carrying bags containing 101 kg of ivory. Another bag containing 58 kg was found at the airport later that day.

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