Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Traders are stockpiling ivory, rhino horns in SEA

Traders are stockpiling ivory, rhino horns in SEA

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Police capture 50kg of illegal wildlife products in Pursat province. GRK News

Traders are stockpiling ivory, rhino horns in SEA

A Wildlife Justice Commission (WJC) report said wildlife traders have stockpiled large quantities of ivory in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia because of difficulties in transporting it to China due to Covid-19 travel restrictions and border closings.

The report which was released April 29 said: “Effects have been seen in the Southeast Asian ivory retail markets that serve mainly Chinese clientele.

“While ivory markets have been on the rise in Cambodia and conversely declining in Laos, sellers in both countries are experiencing a dramatic fall in the number of Chinese customers due to travel restrictions.

“Intelligence indicates that batches of raw ivory are also being stashed in Cambodia. The apparent spread of ivory between Vietnam and Cambodia could mean it is being transported to Cambodia for carving and processing, which is plausible considering the recent rise in the number of ivory retail markets in Cambodia.”

The report said recent WJC missions to Phnom Penh established that Covid-19 is affecting the capital’s ivory retail markets.

Tour guides and shop owners told WJC operatives that there are very few Chinese tourists and customers in the capital. Many of them had gone back to China in late January for the lunar New Year and have been unable to return due to travel restrictions and quarantine measures.

“If a lack of customers and market closures continue for a prolonged period, retailers may increase the online sale of wildlife products to continue doing business,” the report said.

Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra told The Post on Tuesday that if the WJC has specific information regarding the stockpiling of ivory or other animal specimens it should cooperate with authorities to enforce the law.

Cambodia is committed to joining the fight against the illegal wildlife trade with the world, he said.

“Cambodian authorities have seized rhinoceros horns and carved products made from ivory that were illegally imported into the Kingdom and exported to other countries.

“From 2016 to late 2018, thousands of ivory and rhino horns weighing more than five tonnes were seized by authorities. Also, pangolin scales and other wildlife bones were seized as well,” he said.

Pheaktra said the ministry has notified 59 souvenir business owners, of which 27 are in the capital, 30 in Siem Reap, and two in Sihanoukville, about the suspected selling of horns and ivory and trading in other forms of wildlife.

They were required to stop their illegal activities immediately.

A raid in March by Wildlife Alliance’s Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team (WRRT) exposed the dark underbelly of Cambodia’s illegal wildlife trade, Wildlife Alliance Cambodia posted on Facebook on April 16.

The organisation said after receiving a tipoff from the Wildlife Justice Commission, WRRT raided a carving factory in Phnom Penh suspected of holding illegal wildlife products.

The suspect was found with 6.58kg of ivory, 5.5kg of tiger bones, 1 tiger tooth, 1.03kg of pangolin scales, and 103 dead seahorses, it added. A Chinese national was arrested and was put in pre-trial detention.

MOST VIEWED

  • PM to vet NY holiday dates

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance submitted a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen asking him to formally set a five-day national holiday from August 17-21 to make up for the Khmer New Year holiday in April that was postponed. Finance minister Aun Pornmoniroth sent

  • Cambodia rejects UN rights claim

    Cambodia's Permanent Mission to the UN Office in Geneva on Friday hit back at David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression after he raised concerns over the repression of free speech and

  • Snaring may spawn diseases

    The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has warned that snaring of animals has become a crisis that poses a serious risk to wildlife in Southeast Asia and could spawn the transmission of zoonotic diseases to humans. Its July 9 report entitled Silence of the Snares: Southeast Asia’

  • Ex-party leader, gov’t critic named as secretary of state

    A former political party leader known for being critical of the government has been appointed secretary of state at the Ministry of Rural Development, a royal decree dated July 9 said. Sourn Serey Ratha, the former president of the Khmer Power Party (KPP), told The Post

  • Residence cards set for over 80,000 immigrants

    The Ministry of Interior plans to grant residence cards to more than 80,000 immigrants to better keep track of them. The ministry announced the plan on July 10, following the results of an immigration census. “An inter-ministerial committee and many operational working groups have been set up

  • Kingdom produces PPE gear

    Medical supplies from Cambodia have been donated to member countries of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to assist in the fight against Covid-19, said an ADB report published on July 9. The report stated that the supplies were donated as a response to global efforts to

  • Kingdom, US vow stronger ties

    At an academic forum on Saturday to celebrate 70 years of Cambodia-US diplomatic ties, Cambodian researchers and officials expressed hope of encouraging US investments and for that country to deepen and improve its bilateral relations. Held at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, it reviewed the past 70

  • ‘Single Portal’ integrated registration system welcomes nearly 50 firms

    Forty-seven companies have successfully registered via a newly-launched information technology e-business registration platform as of the end of the second week of this month, Ministry of Economy and Finance secretary of state Phan Phalla said. Six ministries and state-run institutions have been integrated into a

  • Battambang artist brings giant animals to life

    The giant reptile’s gaping mouth appears ready to consume its latest victim. It stands taller than a person and is incredibly life-like with authentic colours, a long spiky tail and detailed scales adorning its entire body. If it wasn’t 13m long, you may

  • Fifteen Cambodians from Saudi get Covid-19

    The Ministry of Health on Sunday confirmed 15 more imported cases of Covid. The 15 men ‒ all Cambodian aged 21 to 33 ‒ arrived from Saudi Arabia on Friday via a connecting flight in Malaysia. They were travelling with 79 other passengers, three of them women. The ministry said 80 of the