Customs officers at Taiwan’s main airport on Monday confiscated 5.6 kg of undeclared raw elephant ivory that was brought into the country by a Taiwanese woman returning from Hong Kong.
The woman, who arrived at Taoyuan International Airport on a Cathay Pacific Airways flight, was carrying 120 pieces of raw ivory hidden in peanut candy packages in her checked luggage, Taipei Customs Office said.
Such ivory is usually used to make name stamps, the office said, adding that the 5.6 kg of ivory was confiscated because its importation was in violation of the Wildlife Conservation Act.
Violation of the law carries a penalty of six months to five years in prison and a fine of NT$300,000 (US$9,658) to NT$1.5 million, the customs office said.
The woman said she was unaware of the law and had been asked by a friend to bring the packages to Taiwan.
According to Article 24 of the Act, the import or export of live wildlife or Protected Wildlife products is not allowed without the approval of the national principle authority.
Furthermore, in accordance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the import or export of protected wildlife species or products requires prior approval by the Council of Agriculture, an export permit or certificate issued by the country of origin, and an import permit issued by Taiwan’s Bureau of Foreign Trade.