PETALING JAYA - A shipment of nearly two tonnes of ivory has been seized after slipping through Malaysian waters, the second such incident in a fortnight.
The illegal shipment of elephant tusks, high in demand in China, Thailand and Vietnam, was discovered by officials in the northern port city of Hai Phong on Friday.
The shipment from Malaysia, and destined for China, was declared as seashells before authorities found the tusks stashed among them, Vietnam's Tuoi Tre newspaper reported.
It stated that the shipment was supposed to be transferred by road to the Lang Son border gate to China.
On Oct 3, Hong Kong Custom officials seized nearly one tonne of illegal ivory with a total of 189 elephant tusks.
It had been shipped from Cote d'Ivoire and transited through Malaysia, with the haul bearing an estimated sale price of US$1.49mil (RM4.8mil).
Customs director-general Datuk Seri Khazali Ahmad said he would launch an investigation into the matter.
Wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic South-East Asia senior programme officer Kanitha Krishnasamy said the use of Malaysian ports as a transit smuggling point from Africa to end markets in Asia had been a trend over the past two years.