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Customs department tackles wildlife trade

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times Share:

The General Department of Customs and Excise is strengthening measures to crack down on wildlife smuggling and is focusing on items made from ivory.

A letter signed by Kun Nhim, department director-general, obtained yesterday directed all branch directors and bureau chiefs to crack down on the smuggling of elephant ivory, rhino ivory, furniture made from ivory, animal parts and all forms of wildlife.

“Importing, exporting and transporting elephant and rhino ivory and furniture made from them are illegal acts,” Mr Nhim said.

He said the department’s officers must scrutinise information provided by traders in their manifests of goods and thoroughly check if they not smuggling banned goods, including elephant and rhino ivory and furniture made from ivory.

Mr Nhim added that anyone caught doing so must be taken to court.

Neth Pheaktra, secretary of state and spokesman of the Environment Ministry, yesterday lauded Mr Nhim’s directive and said it highlights the government’s efforts to combat illegal trade in wildlife and rare tree species.

“Cambodia as a United Nations member is already cooperating with other countries in the world to protect natural resources and cracking down on illegal wildlife trade,” he said.

He noted that Cambodia has strict laws against illegal wildlife trade and authorities have cracked down on many cases, rescuing wildlife and sending suspects to court.

The ministry reported recently that about five tonnes of ivory were confiscated during crackdowns from 2016 until last year.

More than 600 kilograms of ivory were seized in January at Sihanoukville Autonomous Port in Preah Sihanouk province.

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