Chinese Customs Seize Nearly 8 Tons Of Elephant Ivory From Smuggling Attempt

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Earlier this week, the General Administration of Chinese Customs (GACC) announced the seizure of 7.48 tons of elephant ivory; marking this the second largest illegal ivory seizure worldwide since detailed records were first compiled in 1989.

The seizure was made by the Huangpu Branch of China Customs in Guangdong Province and took place on March 30th, just five days after Vietnam reported the seizure of 9.12 tons of ivory in Tien Sa Port in Da Nang. Both seizures, if officially confirmed, are larger than the 7.12 tons of ivory seized in Singapore in 2002, currently the largest seizure on record.

Speaking at a press conference held to announce the seizure, Hu Wei, Deputy Director General of China Customs and Director of the National Anti-Smuggling Office, described the case as involving an organized international criminal gang specializing in ivory smuggling.

As per Wei, since the beginning of 2019 customs officers nationwide had filed 182 cases of endangered species smuggling, including 53 involving ivory. As a result, the activities of 27 criminal gangs had been disrupted, 171 suspects arrested and 500.5 tons of endangered animals confiscated, including 8.48 tons of ivory.

TRAFFIC released a statement offering its assistance in efforts to “clampdown on the persistent trafficking of ivory and other endangered species, and in the longer-term goal of changing consumer behavior and reducing the demand for illegal wildlife products.”

Moreover, Chinese Customs has cracked down on illegal online trade and smuggling of ivory, as well as other endangered species products, successfully eradicating at least two ivory smuggling networks on social media.

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