Elephant crushes Australian zookeeper
By Anjani Trivedi
for CNN updated 4:21 AM EDT, Fri October 19, 2012
Four tons of African ivory caught in Hong Kong
- Hong Kong customs authorities seize about $26.7 million worth of ivory
- Ivory ornaments and tusks came in two shipping containers from Africa
- Investigators also worked with Guangdong authorities in China
(Hong Kong) (CNN) — Hong Kong authorities confiscated $26.7 million worth of ivory found in two shipping containers this week.
The illegal goods weighed more than 8,000 pounds, making it one of the biggest seizures of ivory in Hong Kong.
The containers arrived from Tanzania and Kenya, according to Hong Kong customs officials. The agency seized a total of 1,209 pieces of ivory tusks and three pounds of ivory ornaments from the two containers.
Poaching on the rise in Africa
Elephant poaching on the rise in Africa
Illegal trade in rhino horns
Hong Kong Customs was on alert after a tip-off from Guangdong officials in China. On October 16, Hong Kong officers inspected a container from Tanzania claiming to carry plastic scrap and found $13.5 million worth of ivory. A day later, a second container from Kenya was seized with ivory valued at $13.2 million, according to Hong Kong Customs.
Seven people, including one Hong Kong resident, have been arrested by Chinese authorities in connection to the cases, said a customs spokeswoman.
Hong Kong is viewed as a transit point for the illegal ivory trade, feeding into increasing demands in China, according to a Time article published this week.
Elephants are being killed in Africa at an alarming rate as international demand soars for ivory. Much of the demand comes from increasingly affluent Asian countries, particularly China and Thailand.
The last major bust in Hong Kong occurred in 2011, when officials seized a shipment of ivory and rhino horns valued at $17.4 million.