Kaohsiung Harbor officials yesterday discovered a large amount of ivory in cargo that had originated in Tanzania.
The Kaohsiung Customs Office found an estimated 350 tusks in two containers, weighing around 2,500kg and valued at more than NT$100 million (US$3,100,775).
"The two containers entered Kaohsiung Harbor on June 11 and June 15, respectively, from Tanzania. They were to be transported to Manila on a smaller ship later this month," Ko Shih-hsien (郭世賢), an official with the Kao-hsiung Customs Office, said at a press conference.
The ivory was discovered in 18 wooden boxes when customs officials were checking suspicious cargo yesterday morning, he said.
The two containers were listed as containing sisal fiber, he added.
Sisal fiber is used to make such items as ropes or rugs. Tanzania is one of the world's main producers of sisal fiber.
Taiwan banned ivory imports in 1990, with the exception of items that have obtained an export permit from ivory-producing countries, to prove they do not violate the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
As the cargo would have headed for the Philippines if it had not been discovered, the official said the bureau had launched an investigation regarding the Philippine importer.
He added that the bureau would contact and cooperate with international conservation organizations to probe the matter.
Some expressed fears that a large herd of as many as 400 elephants had been slaughtered by an ivory smuggling ring in order to harvest the tusks.
The tusks will be handed over to the Council of Agriculture to decide whether to destroy them or to reserve them for academic research.
Officials displayed the tusks at the harbor yesterday.
The official said the tusks were mostly from full-grown elephants, with a longest one being 180cm in length.
Wu Yu-chi (
Wu added that brown-colored ivory with bloodstains would indicate the tusks were from recently killed elephants.
Ivory trading is outlawed, but in some countries ivory is used to make high-priced jewelry and seals, Wu said.
The last time the country seized a large amount of smuggled ivory was in May 2000, when Kaohsiung Harbor discovered 332 tusks, weighing 2160kg.
‘A DISASTER’: A successful Chinese attack on Taiwan would undermine the credibility of US security guarantees and could result in a global depression, three experts wrote A Chinese takeover of Taiwan would be a geopolitical catastrophe for the US and its allies, one that would overshadow almost all others over the next decade, US policy experts said. Andrew Erickson, a professor of strategy in the US Naval War College’s China Maritime Studies Institute; Gabriel Collins, a fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy; and former US deputy national security adviser Matthew Pottinger issued the warning in an article published on Tuesday in Foreign Affairs. Bejing’s invasion or annexation of Taiwan “would be a disaster of utmost importance to the United States, and I am convinced that
Taiwanese businesspeople’s investments in China last year hit a record low of 11.4 percent of total foreign investment, the Mainland Affairs Council said yesterday. The number was a huge decline from 83.8 percent in 2010, mainly because Taiwanese businesspeople have been diversifying their investments globally over the past few years, with great success, the council said. From 1991 to last year, 45,523 Taiwanese investments in China totaling US$206.37 billion had been approved, accounting for 50.7 percent of overall foreign investment, data from the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Investment Commission showed. The amount and proportion of Taiwanese investments in China has been declining, with
Taiwanese tourists on board a Kinmen cruise ship had a scare yesterday when it was intercepted by Chinese coast guards who forcefully boarded the vessel to inspect it. The Sunrise, a tourism ferry that operates between Kinmen and Xiamen, China, was sailing around the waters around the islets of Dadan (大膽) and Erdan (二膽) — both of which are part of Kinmen County — yesterday afternoon when it encountered personnel from China’s Fujian Coast Guard Bureau. China Coast Guard personnel forced their way on board and conducted an inspection for about 30 minutes before leaving, local media cited the tourists as saying. The
CHINA’S VERSION: The TAO threatened Taiwan and denied the existence of restricted waters around Kinmen County after two Chinese died fleeing the Taiwanese coast guard Taiwan would continue to enforce the law in restricted waters around Kinmen County, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said yesterday. The council was responding after China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) spokeswoman Zhu Fenglian (朱鳳蓮) on Saturday rejected the existence of restricted waters around Kinmen County — a group of Taiwanese islands close to China’s coast — and said that Beijing reserves the right to take further measures after two Chinese died in the area. The two died on Wednesday after the speedboat they were in capsized while they were being pursued by Taiwanese Coast Guard Administration (CGA) officials. The speedboat had entered