Thai authorities have seized a large shipment of ivory (69 elephant tusks and four other pieces of ivory) being smuggled from Mozambique, Africa, at Thailand's main Suvarnabhumi Airport on January 5.

According to the director-general of the Thai Customs Department, airport officials seized the containers labelled as “personal use property”, after a tip-off from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) network.

The consignment, that weighed 435 kg, was packed in two containers en route for Laos' capital Vientiane. The ivory is worth 10 million baht ($3,31,000). Trade in (African) elephant ivory is restricted/prohibited under the CITES and Thailand's Wildlife Preservation and Protection Act B.E. 2535 (1992).

In 2010, Thai airport officials intercepted close to 4.5 tonnes of African elephant ivory. Wildlife experts say Thailand is a commonly-used global transit point for the illegal trafficking of animal parts and is also a hub for ivory carving.

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