Ivory worth R4m confiscated at OR Tambo airport

2015-07-03 13:15
Elephant ivory.

Elephant ivory. (Shutterstock)

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Pretoria - South African Revenue Service customs officials discovered 267kg of ivory hidden among shredded paper while conducting inspections in the cargo area at OR Tambo International Airport on Thursday, Sars said in a statement.

The ivory, destined for Vietnam from Zimbabwe, estimated to have a street value of R4m, is one of the biggest interceptions by Sars of smuggled ivory, Sars said.

"During the profiling of shipments, vigilant customs officials noticed a pallet containing numerous plastic shrink-wrapped boxes. Further scrutiny of the supporting documents for the consignment revealed that the goods contained inside were declared as ‘handicrafts’ originating from Zimbabwe destined for Vietnam.

"The OR Tambo International Airport was being used as a transit point before the final destination to the Far East."

A full inspection of the boxes led to customs officials discovering ivory tusks among shredded paper. "This shipment was incorrectly cleared as handicrafts and no CITES permits were issued for the consignment, a clear attempt to smuggle the goods," Sars said.

The police are investigating.

This is a significant seizure by Sars Customs who implement daily inspections to try to foil smuggling of goods. "We will continue to work with other law enforcement agencies to protect the country and its citizens by disrupting organised crime and reducing illicit trade activities," Sars said.

Read more on:    sars  |  johannesburg  |  poaching

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