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Thai customs officials said on Monday that they seized 250kg of ivory — or about 130 tusks and pieces — hidden in crates being shipped from Africa to Asia.

ivory seizure in Bangkok
Thai customs officials display seized ivory during a press conference in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, 6th July 2015. Thai authorities seized more than 200kg of ivory hidden in luggage travelling from Congo to Laos © AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit

The haul was headed from Congo to Laos and transited through several countries in between, said the deputy director-general of Thailand’s Customs Department, Chamroen Photiyod. He said that Thai authorities received a tip-off and began tracking the shipment when it left Addis Ababa airport in Ethiopia.

On Friday, authorities at Bangkok‘s Suvarnabhumi Airport stopped the shipment, which was inside two wooden crates marked “marble pieces” that contained four suitcases with the ivory inside, Chamroen told a news conference. The ivory was apparently worth an estimated 10 million baht (US$295,000).

11th ivory seizure this year in Bangkok

This is the 11th ivory seizure the Thai Customs Department has made this year. Thailand is a major transit hub and destination for smuggled tusks, which are often carved into tourist trinkets and ornaments. Poachers have killed tens of thousands of African elephants for their tusks in recent years to meet demand for ivory in Asia.

smuggled ivory tusks in Thailand

11th ivory seizure this year in Thailand


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