Search form

Login - Register | FOLLOW US ON

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ivory haul seized in Siem Reap

Authorities weigh and inspect confiscated ivory at Siem Reap International Airport
Authorities weigh and inspect confiscated ivory at Siem Reap International Airport on Sunday. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Ivory haul seized in Siem Reap

Two Vietnamese nationals arrested at Siem Reap International Airport on Sunday night were officially charged by the provincial court yesterday for attempting to smuggle nearly 80 kilograms of elephant ivory into the country, officials said yesterday.

According to Siem Reap deputy prosecutor Chhun Sophanha, the two suspects had confessed to bringing the ivory, hidden in three bags, from South Africa to Cambodia via South Korea.

“We went to Siem Reap International Airport [on Sunday] night at 9pm, and we arrested them after we discovered 79.5 kilograms of ivory in their luggage,” Sophanha said, adding that provincial police, customs officials and other authorities had cooperated to make the arrests.

“We charged them with illegally smuggling elephant ivory, and they are now detained in jail,” he added.

An economic police officer weighs confiscated ivory at Siem Reap International Airport
An economic police officer weighs confiscated ivory at Siem Reap International Airport on Sunday. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Sophanha said yesterday that he was not sure which country the ivory was ultimately destined for, but Siem Reap provincial deputy police chief Um Amra said that the haul had been headed to Vietnam to be put up for sale there. “[The suspects] said that they planned to transport that ivory to Hanoi,” Amra said.

“This is the first case in Siem Reap province of illegally smuggling ivory since I became a deputy police chief five years ago,” he added, noting that traffickers in his province typically smuggled drugs.

However, two sizeable ivory shipments destined for Cambodia have been seized in Thailand in the past two years. Eleven elephant tusks headed from Ethiopia to Phnom Penh were intercepted there in December of 2012, and a whopping 27 tusks – with a black market value of $498,000 –were seized there last September en route from Angola to Siem Reap.

The growing trade was highlighted in a 2012 report by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna, which warned that Cambodia could be replacing Vietnam as the customary transit point for ivory in the region.

“Use of Cambodia’s Sihanoukville Port … as an export destination for ivory from Africa appears to be an emerging substitute trade route to China following the series of large seizures in Vietnam,” the report reads, noting that China and Thailand were the top destinations for large ivory shipments seized in the previous three years.

0

Comments

Please, login or register to post a comment

Latest Video

Phnom Penh eats: Homegrown veggies at Bayon Beoung Snor

​Nestled along National Road 1, Bayon Beoung Snor is a farm-cum-restaurant. The team grows their own vegetables, which they then use to whip up traditional Khmer food.

Bill Clough reflects on The Phnom Penh Post's 25 year history

The Post's publisher Bill Clough, under whose leadership the publication went from a fortnightly to a daily one, discusses his investment in Cambodia, his vision for the paper in an increasingly digital age,

People search for their names on the voter lists at a polling station in Kampong Cham’s Veal Vong commune earlier this month.

Four years ago, when the opposition snatched Kampong Cham away from the ruling party in 2013 national elections, it hinted at a deeper shift taking

Comfrel Executive Director Koul Panha speaks to the press at a meeting yesterday in Phnom Penh.

As the National Election Committee launched into the recount proc