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Published: Tuesday December 11, 2012 MYT 7:17:00 PM

Customs seize 1,500 elephant tusks worth RM60mil

PORT KLANG: The Customs Department netted its biggest haul of elephant tusks ever with the seizure of 1,500 tusks worth RM60mil.

Selangor Customs director Datuk Azis Yacub said the consignment arrived in two containers at Westports, which were declared as "wooden floor tiles".

The contraband originated from Togo, and moved to another ship in Spain. It then arrived in Malaysia for transhipment, with China being its final destination, said Azis.

The tusks totalled 24 tonnes, and were hidden under wooden planks, he told reporters Tuesday.

"This success is due to intelligence by the Customs. We've tracked the containers since Dec 1, and on Dec 7, we took hold of them and only checked the containers on Monday," he said.

The latest seizure is the third by the Selangor Customs Department, while there were four attempts to smuggle elephant tusks into the country last year.

The biggest case last year involved 15 tonnes of tusks worth RM4mil, which was also seized during transhipment in Westports.

Azis said no arrests have been made, but the local company handling the containers are being investigated.

The case is investigated under Section 133 of the Customs Act for wrongful declaration, which carries a maximum penalty of RM500,000, five years jail, or both.

The commercial trade of elephant tusks also contravenes the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), he said.

Azis called on members of the public to tip off to Customs Department at 1800-88-8855 if they have any information on smuggling activities.

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