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November 25, 2009

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Elephant-size bust: Officers seize a big tusk

SHANGHAI Customs officers have seized a smuggled tusk, the biggest they have ever caught through the mails at 1.4 meters long and 21.5 kilograms, officials said yesterday.

On October 26, a customs officer surnamed Guo became suspicious of a declaration form for African ornaments being mailed across the border from Japan.

The recipient address was exactly the same as that of a parcel sent from Uruguay in June that had contained a batch of ivory-carving products.

Officers opened the recent parcel and found an uncarved tusk hidden in newspapers. The tusk was determined to belong to an adult African elephant.

Officials said ivory smuggling by mail is gradually increasing.

Since July 2008, Customs has investigated three ivory-smuggling cases involving the mails and is looking for clues of another case at present.

Altogether, four smuggled tusks and a variety of ivory products such as jewelry, weighing a total of 4.28 kilograms, were confiscated during the period, Customs said.


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