Ivory Haul Worth £1.8 Million Found at Chinese Border in Largest Ever Tusk Smuggling Case 


Chloe Lyme, Daily Mail

Date Published

See link for photos

Hundreds of elephant tusks have been seized in China in what’s reportedly the biggest smuggling case ever recorded in the country.

The haul, weighing over half a tonne, was detained by the Zhuhai border guards in Guangdong Province, reports the People’s Daily Online.

After receiving a report of a suspicious speed boat crossing into mainland China from Hong Kong, officers quickly arrived at the scene where they made the shocking discovery. Unfortunately the suspects had already fled.

A total of 221 elephant tusks with a black market value of 18 million Yuan (£1.8 million) were found on the speedboat according to the reports in Chinese media on Tuesday.

Shocking images taken of the smuggled tusks show them all lined up on a playing field, evenly spread out by officers.  

The guards at the checkpoint in Zhuhai, which borders Macau, received a tip-off on March 4 that said ‘someone from Hong Kong will soon be smuggling goods to be sold to the mainland.’

After receiving the report, the Zhuhai detachment set up a task force to investigate immediately.

At 11pm on the same night, North Sea duty officers discovered an unlicensed speedboat travelling towards the mainland at speed.

By the time they had caught up to the boat, the smugglers had gone but they left their goods behind.

In order to conceal the tusks in smaller places they had deliberately cut them.

The authorities are now searching for the smugglers, who may face up to life imprisonment if found guilty of being involved in the ivory trade.

Illegal trade of ivory is huge business in China, the black market has an insatiable desire for elephant tusks, which are sold as ornaments and also used for medicinal purposes.

Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine grind tusks into powder and add it to liquids to create a tonic believed to be a cure for everything from the common cold to cancer.

The suspects are still reported to be at large. At present, the case has been transferred to the Customs department for further careful investigation process.

This latest haul comes as China announces its widening ban on ivory imports, which will see imports of all ivory and ivory products acquired before 1975 banned until the end of this decade.