After ivory trade crackdown, Chinese buyers find new black market in Cambodia

China’s ban in 2017 caused a fall in demand but elsewhere in Asia countries with weak policing draw new traders and tactics, say animal activists.

The ivory trade has taken a hit in recent years, with sweeping domestic trade bans from major consumer countries like China.

But tightening regulations and enforcement have not stamped out the trade in Asia. Instead it has forced criminal networks to adapt and shift to countries less able to enforce the tough rules, according to a new investigation into the illegal ivory trade in Cambodia.

A 10-month investigation by the Wildlife Justice Commission (WJC), an international foundation focused on organised, transnational wildlife crime, has uncovered a more extensive ivory processing and retail apparatus in Cambodia than had previously been known. Traders, found in the investigation to be largely of Chinese descent, appeared to be catering to Chinese clientele.

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