Vietnamese Ivory smugglers intercepted at Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport

Vietnamese Ivory smugglers intercepted at Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport

Nguyen Van Thanh and Dinh Van Chung

Smuggling of ivory and any other wildlife product is an act the Uganda Wildlife Authority has always vowed to fight in order to protect the wild species of Africa that have always been reason for the many numbers of tourists on Uganda wildlife safaris. 18 Vietnamese were announced as wanted for ivory smuggling in Uganda. The duo, Nguyen Van Thanh and Dinh Van Chung are part of the 18-man wanted mafia racket suspected to be behind ivory smuggling in the region.

The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) Customs Enforcement Intelligence Officers on the evening of 2nd March intercepted and offloaded the two Vietnamese nationals from Qatar airways as the duo attempted to flee Uganda to evade prosecution.

Before this incident, by the end of January, Ugandan government had again confiscated over 750 pieces of ivory and a thousand of pangolin scales trucked in to the country from neighboring South Sudan by Vietnamese nationals. They allegedly attempted to smuggle the contraband, worth millions of dollars, through Uganda’s border post at Elegu.

The Prosecution contends that the suspects and others still at large, were, on January 24, 2019, found in possession of 262 pieces of ivory weighing 3,299 Kilograms. The ivory was valued at 8.7 billion Shillings. The same group was also found with 423.7 kilograms of Pangolin Scales valued at 4.7 billion shillings.  Three Vietnamese Nationals identified as Nguyen Son Dong, 40, Pham Van Chieu 33, and Phung Thi Lien, 35 were arrested hen they were trying to smuggled ivory and pangolin scales contrary to sections 200 and 202 of the East African Community Customs Management Act 2004 (As mended). Poaching and the illegal ivory trad contravene the Uganda Wildlife act 1996 section 24 (h) which prohibits and controls commercial enterprises within a conservation area.

URA identified the suspects in this crime as Din van Chung, Thai Xuan Phuong, Dinh Van Quan alias Tony, Vo Quoc Trinh, Do Trong Ha alias Hoang Ha, Thai Xuan Tuan alias UNK, Vu Van Huan alias Jimmy and Tran Van Cao alias UNK, Le Viet Quyen alias UNK, Trinh Trung Dung alias UNK, Ha Chan Chinh, Nguyen Van Linh, Le Dinh Quan, Nguyen Van Thanh, Nguyen Van Pha, Pham Trong Phuc, Hoang Van Hau and Nguyen Van Viet.

Ivory is got from Elephant tusks, which are one of the big five of the African animals many never wish to miss sighting on a wildlife safari in Uganda. When you safari Uganda, you can easily see savannah elephants at Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park and Kidepo Valley National Park on either or a morning or an evening game drive. About 5000 elephants are remaining in Uganda at a very low reproduction rate (one calf per female every 8.6 years) and lose of elephants during the hunt for the tusks, elephant population is at risk.

Let’s protect nature, because when we lose it all the world won’t be any good place to live because it wasn’t meant to be that way.