Thailand Seizes $300K of Siem Reap-Bound Ivory

Thai customs officials on Saturday arrested a Chinese woman and a Vietnamese man at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport who were bound for Siem Reap International Airport carrying more than $300,000 in illegal African elephant ivory, Thai media reported Monday.

The suspects were identified at a press conference Monday as Vietnamese national Luong Tien Phong, 62, and Chinese national Chen Zhiyu, 23, the Bangkok Post reported.

“The suspects had traveled from Ivory Coast and were embarking on Bangkok Airways flight PG 909 to Siem Reap, Cambodia, at 6:30 p.m. when they were apprehended,” the Bangkok Post said, adding that an X-ray revealed 18 pieces of tusks and 587 ivory bracelets hidden inside their four pieces of luggage.

Ang Sokenhor, a customs officer at Siem Reap International Airport, said the Thai seizure was welcome news.

“We are very happy with the news that Thailand has arrested [the suspects] and confiscated the ivory,” he said.

While Cambodia has no domestic market for ivory, the country’s airports, ports and roads have become thoroughfares for smugglers attempting to reach the black markets of Vietnam and China.

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