More efforts needed to fight illegal ivory trading hinh anh 1Ivory-made jewelry is offered for sale at a gold shop in Cau Dat street, Hai Phong city. (Photo provided by the shop owner)

Hanoi (VNA)
- Hidden behind the splendid beauty of the ivory-made ornaments, accompanied by honey-mouthed offers, are the tragic screams and the fresh blood flowing from the bodies of the "great friends” – wild elephants.

Baseless rumors that elephant ivory and tail feather will dispel evils and bring in luck, many people are willing to spend large sums of money to own pieces of ivory and rings that are considered "banned goods," in order to show their "class “of a playboy.

Illegal ivory trading under the cloak of gold shops

On the morning of July 25, VietnamPlus correspondents came to Cau Dat street (Ngo Quyen, Hai Phong) at the instruction of a number of conservationists to see famous gold shops specializing in selling ivory items in the port land.

According to a list of gold shops selling "banned goods," the reporters quickly arrived at Cau Dat street, and in turn approached the big and small gold shops. In the role of rakes to seek ivory to purchase, the writers easily asked to buy, saw and held a series of jewelry products introduced by gold shop owners as crafted from white ivory such as rings, bracelets and Buddha carvings with documentation proving they are genuine.

More efforts needed to fight illegal ivory trading hinh anh 2An ivory bracelet is sold for up to 6 - 8 million VND. (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Even, the owner of a shop asserted that "if customers need and deposit money, they can buy the whole piece of ivory."

In order to coordinate with competent forces to inspect and seize exhibits, on July 25, the VietnamPlus reporters went to the Hai Phong city Police to provide information as well as contacted with the Environmental Police Department. However, after nearly 10 days, there have been no answers.

“Raid” to seize “prohibited goods"

Similar to Hai Phong and many provinces and cities across the country, in some areas in Quang Ninh province, recently, the selling of jewelry introduced to be made from ivory has become popular, especially in tourist sites.

More efforts needed to fight illegal ivory trading hinh anh 3A piece of ivory is offered by a jewelry shop on Cau Dat street. (Photo provided by the shop owner)

For example, in Vuon Dao street area (Bai Chay, Ha Long), on July 27-29, the sale of ivory items was bustling. These "banned goods" were offered for sale in popular handicraft and goods stores.

One of the largest ivory jewelry outlets is the shop at No. 85, Vuon Dao street. Here, both times when the reporters asked to buy the "banned goods," the shopkeeper presented three boxes of jewelry including rings, bracelets and Buddha-shaped statues, which were hidden in a cupboard. "All of these products are genuine, with clear origin, but they are banned from sale so we have to hide them," the seller said. She also showed the way to distinguish the genuine and fake goods.

More efforts needed to fight illegal ivory trading hinh anh 4One of the largest ivory jewelry outlets is the shop at No. 85, Vuon Dao street, Bai Chay, Ha Long. (Photo: VietnamPlus)

After a while introducing the quality of the product, the shop owner set the prices. Accordingly, a ring made from elephant tail feather cost 100,000 - 200,000 VND while bracelets, pendants and Buddha-shaped statues are sold for 6-9 million VND per unit, depending on the type.

Talking to the reporters on this issue by phone, Dang The Dung, head of the Environmental Police Department, at the beginning asserted that "there is no ivory selling in the area and all products sold in the market are plastic." Then he sent his staff to accompany the reporters to the Market Management Team No. 5 to coordinate in inspection and capture of exhibits.

When being asked why the ivory jewelry was offered for sale rampantly in the area, but the market management force did not inspect and seize, Pham Anh Tuan, head of the Market Management Team No. 5, said "the inspection and capture of wildlife products are not related to market management!"

Currently, the case has been handed over to the Ha Long city Police Department for investigation and handling.

Alarm of “illegal ivory consumption”

According to conservation experts, Vietnam is one of the most bustling "illegal ivory consumption” markets in the world. Although a lot of strong measures have been implemented, the work of fighting, preventing, and handling leaders of illegal ivory trading rings has not been really effective.

A report by the Wildlife Conservation Society shows that from 2013 to 2017, Vietnamese law enforcement agencies detected and dealt with 48 cases with 9,732kg of elephant-related products (accounting for the highest proportion, at 23.55 percent of the total amount of wildlife captured and confiscated).

Among the elephant-related products seized, the raw ivory had the largest weight, 8,753kg or 89.95 percent. The rest were manufactured products such as rings and bracelets.

More efforts needed to fight illegal ivory trading hinh anh 5Since the beginning of 2019, Hai Phong Customs has seized over 4,078kg of ivory (Photo courtesy of the Hai Phong Customs Department).

From the beginning of 2010 to the end of 2018, the Education for Nature Vietnam also recorded about 150 cases of ivory-related violation with the total amount of ivory seized reaching up to more than 53 tonnes. In particular, there were over 30 ivory transport cases with a volume of more than 500kg each, mainly found at border gates and seaports.

Most of the ivory smuggling cases have been seized and confiscated by customs forces in Hai Phong, Hanoi, Da Nang, Thanh Hoa and Soc Trang.

Data provided by Nguyen Thai Hung, head of the Hai Phong Customs Control Team, showed that since 2013, this unit has captured and confiscated more than 15,470 kg of ivory. In particular, more than 4,078 kg of ivory have been seized so far this year.

According to Hung, most of the ivory items seized by Hai Phong Customs were from Africa, mainly hidden in containers, through illegal cross-border transportation of goods in seaports.

More efforts needed to fight illegal ivory trading hinh anh 6Since 2013, Hai Phong Customs has seized and confiscated over 15,470 kg of ivory (Photo courtesy of the Hai Phong Customs Department).

He added that all the illegal ivory smuggling cases have been handed over to the police. However, most cases had to suspend investigation because police could not arrest the owners of goods./.