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Vietnam seizes 7 tonnes ivory in largest wildlife smuggling case in years

Source: Reuters

FILE PHOTO: Ivory tusks are displayed after being seized by security forces at the port of Lome and set to be shipped to Vietnam, January 28, 2014. REUTERS/Noel Kokou Tadegnon/File Photo

HANOI, March 20 (Reuters) - Vietnamese authorities on Monday seized seven tonnes of ivory smuggled from Angola, the largest seizure of wildlife products in years, the government said.

Trade in ivory is illegal in Vietnam but wildlife trafficking remains widespread. Other items often found smuggled into the country include pangolin scales, rhino horns and tiger carcasses.

Customs authorities in Haiphong City on Monday found the ivory hidden in a container declared to customs as peanuts, the government said in a statement, adding that the cargo had transited via Singapore.

This followed the finding of more than 600 kilograms of African ivory last month at the city's Lach Huyen Port.

Last month, a court in Vietnam sentenced a man to 13 years in prison for trafficking nearly 10 tonnes of endangered animal parts from Africa, including ivory and rhino horns.

The government said on Monday it continued to investigate the case.

Reporting by Khanh Vu Editing by Bernadette Baum

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