Ivory smugglers who use Malaysia as a transit point have been trying to pass off elephant tusks as packages of peanuts, salted fish and other sundry goods to elude the Customs Department.
But the department was on alert and has foiled numerous attempts by the ivory traffickers to send their goods to a third country.
Customs director-general Datuk Seri Khazali Ahmad said between 2011 and March this year, the department had uncovered 10 such cases.
He said between January and March there were three cases, adding that traffickers marked “Export to Malaysia” in their declaration documents but amended them later to throw off the authorities.
Warning to the traffickers not to take his officers for fools, Khazali said: “We have scanners to see whether what you’ve declared is actually what comes in. So don’t try to trick us by declaring illegal ivory as peanuts, salted fish or whatever.
“Our officers stationed at entry points are smart and they will check if they feel that something is amiss. For example, if you declare that a container of ikan masin (salted fish) weighs more than 30 tonnes, our officers will know it’s ridiculous,” he told The Star.
Stressing that Malaysians had no interest in ivory, he said recent foreign reports gave the impression that it was meant for sale here. More....