African ivory worth $1.4 million seized in Hong Kong
November 16, 2012 -- Updated 1207 GMT (2007 HKT)
Seized pieces of unpolished tusks are displayed by customs officials in Hong Kong on November 16, 2012.
- This is the second large amount of ivory confiscated in Hong Kong in the past month
- 569 tusks were found under sunflower seeds in a shipping container
- The container came from Tanzania as was picked out for inspection by officials
Hong Kong (CNN) -- Hong Kong authorities said Friday that they had confiscated $1.4 million worth of ivory that arrived smuggled in a shipping container from Africa, the second large seizure of tusks at the busy port in the past month.
Customs officials discovered the 1,330 kilograms (about 2,900 pounds) of illegal ivory Thursday in a container from Tanzania that was marked as carrying sunflower seeds, authorities said.
The 569 tusks, worth 10.56 million Hong Kong dollars (about $1.4 million U.S.), were in the back of the container, buried under hundreds of bags of the seeds.
The Hong Kong government said customs officials are investigating the case and are still trying to find "the smuggling syndicate members." The container had been picked out for inspection based on "risk assessment," authorities said.
Poaching on the rise in Africa
The seizure follows the roughly $3.4 million worth in ivory found in two shipping containers last month, one of the largest amounts ever seized in Hong Kong.
Those containers arrived from Tanzania and Kenya, according to Hong Kong customs officials. The agency seized 1,209 pieces of ivory tusks and 3 pounds of ivory ornaments from the two containers, discovered over a period of two days.
In that case, Hong Kong customs officials were on alert after a tip-off from officials in Guangdong, China.
Read more: Priest embroiled in ivory smuggling controversy
Seven people, including one Hong Kong resident, were arrested by Chinese officials in connection with the case, authorities said at the time.
Hong Kong is viewed as a transit point for the illegal ivory trade, feeding into increasing demands in China, according to a Time article published last month.
Elephants are being killed in Africa at an alarming rate as international demand soars for ivory. Much of the demand comes from increasingly affluent Asian countries, particularly China and Thailand.
Before this year, the most recent major bust in Hong Kong occurred in 2011, when officials seized a shipment of ivory and rhinoceros horns valued at $2.2 million Hong Kong dollars.
Journalist Paavan Mathema contributed to this report.
Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 2327 GMT (0727 HKT)
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
Today's five most popular stories