Chiangrai Times – Thai Customs House officials have seized half a ton of ivory at Bangkok’s international airport. The ivory was discovered Friday hidden in crates aboard a flight from Kenya. Customs officials displayed the 456-kilogram (1,000-pound) haul on Tuesday. One official estimated that the 158 pieces of ivory were from the tusks of around 50 elephants.
The officials said they acted on a tip-off to seize the ivory, which was in six crates labeled as handicrafts. No arrests have been made.
The July 13 seizure of the boxes, which were addressed to a fake company in Thailand, is the third haul of ivory being smuggled in or out of the country through the airport since January, he added.
Police have launched a probe into the seizure, which breaks international laws on trafficking endangered species or their parts.
“The penalty is up to 10 years imprisonment and a fine four times the value of the items seized,” Tawal added.
Ivory shipped to Thailand typically is used to make Buddhist carvings or jewelry. Thailand is also a transit point for other markets, including China.
The international trade in ivory was banned by an international convention in 1989 as a measure to prevent the poaching of elephants.
A Thai customs official takes a close look at an ivory during a news conference in Bangkok