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Elephant ivory seized at border

Military police seized more than 260 kilograms of elephant ivory near the Vietnamese border in Svay Rieng province on Friday, an official said, the second major bust in as many months.

Svay Rieng provincial military police chief San Bunthan said the 263 kilograms – or 77 pieces – of ivory tusks was hidden inside 10 suitcases in the back of a van heading towards Vietnam.

“We doubted that the van was transporting timber, so police chased [it] … [and] found that there were many [pieces of] ivory hidden in the van, not timber,” Bunthan said on Friday, adding that the suspect fled the scene when the vehicle was stopped.

Bunthan said he was unsure which country the ivory had originally been smuggled from.

Nick Marx, director of wildlife rescue and care at the Wildlife Alliance, said yesterday the case was just one example of a wider problem.

“People are slaughtering elephants all over just for their tusks,” he said.

Last month, two Vietnamese nationals were arrested at Siem Reap International Airport and charged with attempting to smuggle almost 80 kilograms of elephant ivory into the country.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY ALICE CUDDY

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