By Nguyen Quy
Uganda is looking for 18 Vietnamese men involved in smuggled ivory pieces and pangolin scales worth $8 million.
The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) Friday published photographs of the 18 suspects, saying that the wanted Vietnamese traffickers are on the run in connection with an ongoing case of ivory and pangolin scales smuggling worth up to $8 million, the Daily Mirror reported.
The smuggled goods were concealed in timber logs and could have originated from neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo and passed through South Sudan before entering Uganda, the URA said.
Uganda police discovered the illegal cargo and seized them last week.
The incident comes just days after two Vietnamese men were arrested after URA officials seized the largest ever shipment of ivory and pangolin scales.
Global trade in elephant ivory, with rare exceptions, has been outlawed since 1989 after populations of the African pachyderms dropped from millions in the mid-20th century to around 600,000 by the end of the 1980s.
Vietnam also outlawed the ivory trade in 1992, but the country remains a top market for ivory products which are prized locally for decorative purposes and for traditional medicine, despite there being no proof of its medicinal qualities.
Of the 10 countries and territories with the largest number of pangolin trafficking incidents, seven were in Asia — China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Laos, and Indonesia – according to a 2017 study by wildlife trade monitoring group Traffic and Australia’s University of Adelaide.