Thailand seizes over seven tonnes of elephant ivory within a week

27 April 2015

Two largest seizures of elephant ivory in Thailand’s history took place within a week in April 2015. The historical seizure of 739 pieces of ivory, amounting to four tonnes, was made by Thai Customs on Saturday, 18 April. The ivory pieces were found in a maritime container inside the bags declared as dried beans originating from the Democratic Republic of Congo and bound for Laos. The seizure was made based on intelligence in the port of Bangkok.

The second seizure happened one week later, on Saturday, 25 April. Customs officers seized 511 pieces of ivory amounting to 3, 127 kg. The cargo was declared as tea leaves. Like in the first case, the ivory was bound to Laos. Thai Customs Director General Somchai Sujjapongse pointed out that ivory was shipped from Kenya and transited several other ports before being seized at Laem Chabang port in Eastern Thailand.

In relation to the two seizures, Mr Somchai Sujjapongse pointed out that “this ivory was due to be sold to customers in China, Vietnam and Thailand”, demonstrating that this problem affects not only Thailand but also other countries in the region. He also pointed out that after the first seizure the attention of Customs officers was particularly focused on shipments bound to Laos and that Thai Customs continues using different tools to fight against this type of illegal trade including technologies and intelligence information exchange.

Photos 1 and 2: seizure made on 18 April.

Photo 3: seizure made on 25 April.

Photo credit: Thai Customs Department.

More information


Thai Customs Department’s press release 35/2015 dated on 20 April 2015.

Thai Customs Department’s press release 37/2015 dated on 27 April 2015.