SINGAPORE — A shipment of illegal ivory, estimated to be worth S$2 million, was intercepted and seized by the authorities last week while it was transiting through Singapore. The seizure is the third largest of illegal ivory by Singapore authorities since 2002.
Officers from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) and Singapore Customs were acting on a tip-off when they detained the shipment, which had originated from Africa in a 20-foot container and was destined for another Asian country. A joint statement from the AVA and Singapore Customs said officers had detected irregularities in the consignment of goods when the container was scanned at the Pasir Panjang Export Inspection Station on March 25.
The one-tonne shipment had been declared as coffee berries. Instead, officers recovered 106 pieces of illegal raw ivory tusks from 15 wooden crates. The AVA is investigating the case.
Elephants are an endangered species protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). International trade in elephant ivory has been prohibited under the convention since 1989.
Under the Singapore Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act, a permit is required to import and export or re-export any elephant and its parts and products, including ivory.
The penalties for illegal trade in ivory is a maximum fine of S$50,000 per scheduled specimen (not exceeding an aggregate of S$500,000) and/or imprisonment of up to two years. The same penalties apply to any transhipment of ivory through Singapore without proper CITES permits from the exporting or importing country.
The AVA said it will continue to cooperate and collaborate with Singapore Customs, as well as other national and international enforcement agencies, to curb wildlife trafficking.
Anyone with information on illegal trade in ivory can contact the AVA at 6325 7625. All information provided will be kept confidential.