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Ivory confiscations surge at Shanghai Pudong airport

Shanghai Customs today reported a surge in the number of cases involving ivory smuggling this month, with a total weight of 67.2 kilograms seized.

Customs officials said they seized a total of 2,019 ivory products in 15 cases at Pudong International Airport while the total number of cases last year was 14.

In one case on January 16, a man tried to smuggle nearly 5kg of ivory in his luggage and was caught by Customs inspectors during a routine check.

The Chinese man, whose identity was not revealed, packed eight pieces of African ivory in tin foil and plastic wrap and hid them in a well-sealed wine box. Customs declined to reveal the country he flew from.

Customs said smugglers are using a bigger variety of ways to conceal ivory and ivory products and some smuggling rings are very well-organized.

For example, some suspects hid ivory products in specially made coats or tied the ivory to their back and legs. Some were specially trained to transport ivory, officials said.

Shanghai Customs warned local residents not to bring back ivory or products made from ivory from abroad since they may run afoul of the law and face jail.

According to the Chinese Criminal Law, those who have illegally smuggled ivory and ivory-related products can be sentenced to up to life in prison.

Shanghai Customs said they will strengthen checks for ivory smuggling and search passengers’ luggage.

On January 6, a total of 6.1 tons of ivory and ivory products were destroyed in Dongguan city of South China’s Guangdong Province to emphasize that China strictly bans ivory trading.


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