SINGAPORE: About US$2.5 million (S$3.3 million) worth of elephant ivory was seized at the Pasir Panjang Scanning Station on Monday (Mar 5), Singapore authorities said on Thursday.
The shipment from Apapa, Nigeria, was declared to have contained groundnuts, but an inspection by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) uncovered 61 bags with a total of 1,787 pieces of ivory, weighing about 3,500kg.
The ivory, which was to be re-exported to Vietnam, was seized and the importer is assisting with investigations, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) and AVA said in a news release.
It is against the law in Singapore to import or export any illegal wildlife species, including their parts and derivatives under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Elephants are protected under CITES and international trade in elephant ivory is prohibited.
The same penalties apply to transits and transhipments, ICA and AVA said.
Offenders face a fine of up to S$500,000 and two years' imprisonment, and the forfeiture of the items or animals.