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Half tonne of ivory seized after sitting in port for three years

Half tonne of ivory seized after sitting in port for three years

More than half a tonne of ivory was seized at Sihanoukville Autonomous Port on Friday after awaiting collection by a purportedly defunct Takhmao company for nearly three years.

Kim Ly, head of the port customs authority, said he had no information about BTM Trade and Construction, the company listed in shipping documents

District and commune chiefs for the address given on the company’s website said they had never heard of it yesterday, and the phone number listed on the website was answered by a man who said he was a former employee but that BTM went out of business two years ago.

Forestry Administration official Heng Kimchhay said the 613.3-kilogram consignment of ivory arrived at the port on November 1, 2013, buried in a container of corn from Mozambique, adding that customs officials had told him Cambodia was not its intended final destination. “Maybe China,” he said.

Wildlife Conservation Society technical adviser Sarah Brook noted that as neighbouring countries ramp up anti-smuggling efforts, “it encourages traffickers to go through Cambodia and Laos”.

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