By Tara Brady
Customs officials have smashed a global smuggling ring after they discovered 12 tons of smuggled ivory worth £62million in China.
The 3,188 pieces of elephant tusks were found in Xiamen city and have an estimated value of 603 million Yuan on the black market.
Officials named one of the 'masterminds' as a Fujian native called Chen who was known to customs since 2011 and operates between China and Africa for his licensed ivory shop, according to the South China Morning Post.
It is believed Chen's gang are also responsible for smuggling shipments through Hong Kong where illegal loads have been seized in recent months.
Several members of his group were also arrested and almost 2,000 kilograms of ivory was seized in August.
A man called Mr Liu was named as the second black market boss who is being investigated by Xiamen Customs Anti-smuggling Bureau.
Ivory is seen as a symbol of wealth and status in China, and has become increasingly popular in recent years with the growth of the wealthy middle class.
Three Chinese nationals were arrested in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on Tuesday after nearly 800 tusks were found hidden in bags of garlic at their homes. More....