Grain of truth: KLIA customs seize ivory declared as grain

File picture of ivory seized during a raid. KLIA custom officials found 111kg of ivory in packages heading to China and Thailand. — AFP pic
File picture of ivory seized during a raid. KLIA custom officials found 111kg of ivory in packages heading to China and Thailand. — AFP pic

SEPANG, Aug 22 — When six packages arrived at the KL International Airport (KLIA) from Uganda this month and were declared as containing grains (cereals), customs officers suspected there might not be a grain of truth in the declaration.

Their suspicions were proven right.

When the team of customs enforcement officers opened the packages which had arrived via Turkish Airlines, they were found to contain 111kg of ivory worth RM946,689, meant for China and Thailand markets to be processed into ornaments, idols and medicines.

KLIA Customs director, Datuk Chik Omar Chik Lim said in that case on August 4, a group had flown the ivory from Entebbe, Uganda via Turkish Airlines, transit in Istanbul, Turkey before arriving in KLIA.

“The packages were declared as grains (cereals) to be sent to a Salak Tinggi (Sepang) address.

“Upon inspection, we found that the address did not exist and could not be reached.

“No arrest was made and our investigations are underway to track down the smuggler of the seized ivory,” he told reporters at KLIA Customs Complex here today.

He said this was one of seven cases involving the attempted smuggling of ivory tusks between January and yesterday, totalling almost RM10 million.

During the period, the KLIA Customs also foiled two cases of attempted smuggling of Black Pond Tortoise worth about RM19,400.

Chik Omar said the cases involving ivory and tortoise smuggling were investigated under Section 135 (1)(d) Customs Act 1967 for possession of prohibited goods without import licence.

Meanwhile, the KLIA Customs director today handed over 1,174kg of ivory and semi-finished ivory products worth about RM10.19 million which were seized last year and this year, to the Wildlife and National Parks Department for further action. — Bernama

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