KUALA LUMPUR, (Xinhua) -- Malaysian custom officers seized a container with 500 kilograms of elephant tusks at a major port on Monday and foiled what appeared to be an unprecedented attempt by an international syndicate to smuggle the tusks into the country.
Selangor state Customs director Azis Yacub was quoted by local media as saying the elephant tusks, worth 2.4 million ringgit (764, 330.4 U.S. dollars), were hidden in 53 television set boxes in a container that arrived at Port Klang from Cape Town, South Africa.
"The goods were declared as polyester and nylon strand matting in the ship's bill of lading. The boxes were kept at the back of the container, along with some used tyres," Azis was quoted as saying.
Police believed that Malaysians are involved in the traffic and are now investigating a local forwarding company. Azis said this would be the first time a syndicate had tried to smuggle in elephant tusks.
Previously, traffickers had only used Malaysia's ports to transit such contraband, usually from Africa to far east countries.
Traffic in elephant tusks is illegal in the country. Azis said his officers would send the tusks to the wildlife department and the case is being investigated for false declaration and smuggling.
Source: Coastweek News