Massive African ivory seizure in Malaysia11/12/2012 17:25:41 1500 pieces of ivory shipped from Togo
December 2012 - Royal Malaysian Customs have made their largest ever seizure of ivory in transit through the country, finding 1,500 pieces of tusks hidden in wooden crates purpose-built to look like stacks of sawn timber.
Specially made secret compartments
Togo is known to be a major source of ivory exiting Africa. Although it has never reported a seizure to ETIS (the Elephant Trade Information System, managed by TRAFFIC on behalf of Parties to CITES), the country is regularly implicated in reported seizures.
Concern over Malaysia's role as a transit point for illegal ivory shipments was highlighted at a meeting of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) this July: the country was asked to report on what action it has taken to address the issue.
Azis called on the public to continue providing the department with information that would help them stop more shipments like these. He assured that informants identities would be kept confidential and a financial reward would be paid if the information led to a successful case.
"TRAFFIC commends the Customs Department on its vigilance and hopes to see it pursue all leads towards finding the criminals that are using Malaysia as a transit point for ivory," said Dr William Schaedla, TRAFFIC's Director in South-East Asia.
"We also urge authorities to ensure proper systems are in place to catalogue and stockpile the seized ivory," Schaedla.
TRAFFIC also encourages all the countries implicated in the seizure to investigate the case thoroughly, so that those behind the shipment can be traced and brought to justice.