BANGKOK, 27 April 2015 – Customs officials at Laem Chabang Port in Chonburi have seized three more tonnes of African elephant tusks worth over THB200 million.
Gen Dapong Rattanasuwan, the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment acting as Chairman of CITES Standing Committee of Thailand, announced the seizure at a press conference also attended by Somchai Sujjapongse, Director-General of the Customs Department today.
The elephant tusks, numbering 511, were declared at the Customs Office as eleven tonnes of tea leaves originating from Kenya and were bound for Laos.
“The seizure was a follow-up of a major crackdown on illegal ivory in Bangkok last week. With the help of the container tracking system, Thai officials could follow the suspicious containers from Kenya until they stopped at the Laem Chabang Port,” Gen Dapong said.
According to him, the tusks were shipped on a freighter belonging to Green Siam Co. Most of them were the tusks earlier seized and sent back to their origins in Africa whereas some were those having been kept as evidence in some countries.
Gen Dapong has asked the National Police Office to urgently find the culprits and prosecute them for smuggling involvement and to seize their assets under the Anti-Money Laundering Act.
In conjunction with the crackdown on ivory smuggling, police has warned ivory carvers in Phayuhakiri District, Nakhon Sawan, Thailand’s large ivory carving base, to stop using African ivory which is prohibited by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
This year, Thai authorities have already seized more than 1,300 tusks, weighing around two tonnes and worth THB205 million.