Malaysia transit point for smuggling illegal ivory, rhino horns

Nur Aqidah Azizi New Straits Times 30 Apr 19;

SEREMBAN: Malaysia is being used as an illegal transit point to smuggle ivory and other animal parts before they are exported to other countries, said the Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar.

He said these animal parts were exported to countries such as China, Vietnam and Hong Kong.

He said a task force which included authorities from the ministry, Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) and Customs Department had been set up to monitor such activity in the country.

“The animal parts are brought into the country via air and sea. We are amplifying supervision at hot spot locations such as airports and sea ports to curb the activity.

“Trained dogs are also being used to sniff out animal parts which are brought into the country illegally. We are trying our level best to curb the activity although it is difficult to trace the responsible individuals as the recipients normally are third party hired by the syndicate,” he said at a Press conference after launching the ivory disposal held at Kualiti Alam near here today.

A total of 3.92 tonnes of ivory valued at RM13.26million was destroyed at the event. They were seized between 2011 and 2017.

Commenting further, Dr Xavier said results from the forensic analysis conducted in California University indicated that the ivory was from African countries.

“The analysis too was able to indicate the species of elephants from which the ivory came.

“Besides ivory, we are also in the midst of identifying the original countries of rhino horns that are among the animal parts that have also been brought in illegally into the country,” he said.

He added the disposal process was important to ensure that no one would profit from the contraband.

“We hope the destruction will convey a very powerful message to the world that the Malaysian government does not condone such illegal activity.

“We are determined to join other nations to put an end to this alarming trend,” he said.

Malaysia torches nearly four tonnes of ivory
Reuters 30 Apr 19;

SEREMBAN, Malaysia (Reuters) - Malaysia on Wednesday torched nearly four tonnes of elephant tusks and ivory products as part of an effort to stop smugglers using the country as a conduit to China and elsewhere in Asia, a minister said.

Conservationists say Malaysia is a favored transit point for the illegal flow of ivory between Africa and Asia.

Authorities seized 3.92 tonnes of tusks and products worth about 13.3 million ringgit ($3.22 million) at Malaysian airports and ports between 2011 and 2017, said the minister for water, Land and natural resources, Xavier Jayakumar.

“Smugglers use Malaysia as a transport hub, where they are shipped before being sent to other countries such as Hong Kong, Vietnam and China,” he told reporters.

The contraband ivory was burned at a big incinerator to ensure it stays off the black market, Xavier said.

Malaysian officials in August seized 50 rhinoceros horns bound for Vietnam, valued at nearly $12 million.

China banned the sale of ivory within its borders in 2017, but conservationists say it has failed to deter smugglers.