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Malaysia seizes record USD 18 mln in elephant tusks, wildlife contraband

Malaysian authorities have seized nearly USD 18 million worth of trafficked wildlife contraband, including elephant tusks, rhinoceros horns, pangolin scales and tiger bones, the largest such seizure on record, a top customs official said on Monday.

Customs director general Zazuli Johan said customs officials discovered the contraband, which included 6,000 kilograms (13227.74 pounds) of elephant tusks, inside three shipping containers deemed “high-risk” at the West Port of Selangor state on July 10. The containers are believed to have come from Africa. The tusks, including other wildlife contraband, are valued at are 80 million ringgits (USD 17.9 million).

Malaysia has been singled out by conservationists as a major transit point for the illegal trafficking of endangered wildlife to other Asian countries.

Customs Director General, Zazuli Johan said, “the land operations team monitored the movements of the ship carrying three containers deemed high-risk that were believed to have come from Africa. Checks using a screening machine of one of the containers found it to be carrying contraband. A physical search carried out on the container found elephant tusks, rhino horns, pangolin scales, tiger fangs, and other animal horns, skulls and bones hidden behind stockpiles of wood.”

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