Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Appeal court hears case of ivory tusks from South Africa

Appeal court hears case of ivory tusks from South Africa

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Officers from Cambodian customs display some of the 1.3 tonnes of African elephant tusks seized from containers shipped from Mozambique to Phnom Penh in 2016. Wildlife Alliance

Appeal court hears case of ivory tusks from South Africa

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court of Appeal on February 8 heard a case filed by the head of a freight company who claimed he was deceived into signing documents approving a shipment of more than three tonnes of elephant ivory from South Africa in 2014.

According to documents read by prosecutor Tan Senarong, the Preah Sihanouk province branch of the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE) confiscated ivory that was transported in a container to Sihanoukville Autonomous Port on May 9, 2014. A total of 776 ivory tusks wrapped in 108 piles weighing a total of 3,008kg were discovered in a container that also contained bean seeds.

After investigating, GDCE officials found that the freight firm, Reho Both (Cambodia), was linked to the transportation, with its executive director Khan Sinith, 41, was identified as the importer.

Setting out his case to the appeal court on February 8, Sinith claimed that his company worked in partnership with another firm that imported smartphones to Cambodia. He alleged that the partner company deceived him into signing documents to obtain clearance for the shipment.

Sinith said his partner company had merely asked him to sign documents regarding transportation and tax. His company had even stamped documents for the partner company to use for their imports because he trusted them, he added.

“But I don’t know why I see the name of my company on the letter to receive the elephant ivory. That was why I filed the complaint to the municipal appeal court.

“I would like the court to drop the charge against me,” he said.

Preah Sihanouk Provincial Court delivered a verdict on December 13, 2016, sentencing Sinith to three years in prison, with two years suspended. The court also fined Sinith 50 million riels (around $12,300).

Appeal court prosecutor Tan Senarong concluded that Sinith’s argument to defend his innocence was insufficient as long as he could not submit the official clarification in writing to the court.

“Should there be no additional document to lift the burden, I have requested that the judge uphold the decision made by Preah Sihanouk provincial court,” he said.

A verdict is due on February 28.


  • 12th Cambodia int’l film festival to see return of Hollywood star

    Phnom Penh is set to come alive with the magic of cinema as the highly anticipated 12th Cambodia International Film Festival (CIFF) takes centre stage. Boasting an impressive line-up of 188 films from 23 countries, including captivating shorts, feature films, documentaries and animation, the festival promises an

  • Brawl marrs football final as Indonesian take gold in seven goal thriller

    The Indonesian men's U22 men national football team were crowned champions of the 32nd SEA Games in Cambodia, defeating Thailand 5-2 in extra time on May 16 at Olympic National Stadium in Phnom Penh. The match was marred by an ugly incident that occured in the 91

  • Bareknuckle champion wants Kun Khmer fighter

    Dave Leduc, who is the current openweight Lethwei boxing champion in Myanmar, has announced that he will travel to Cambodia this year to challenge SEA Games gold medallist Prum Samnang any time that is convenient, after their planned match later this month in Slovakia was

  • Candlelight Party disqualified from July general election

    The National Election Committee (NEC) has disqualified the Candlelight Party (CP) from contesting the upcoming general election, citing a lack of valid documentation. NEC spokesman Khorn Keomono said the CP failed to fulfil one of the three main requirements: including original documentation proving their registration

  • Thong Khon calls for orderly SEA Games closing ceremony

    Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism and permanent vice-president of the Cambodia SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC), calls on all people who have received tickets to the May 17 closing ceremony of the biennial multi-sports extravaganza at the Morodok Techo National Stadium to ensure that the event

  • 1.4 billion dollar Phnom Penh-Bavet expressway due in four years

    The Government, through the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, has officially signed a public-private partnership agreement with a private company for the construction of a Phnom Penh-Bavet Expressway project that will connect the capital to Svay Rieng province. The budget for the project is