China has arrested 17 suspected smugglers and seized 10 pieces of African ivory weighing 323.7 kg in total in a joint operation, Shenzhen Customs said on Thursday, November 15, 2018.
The suspects, including six Hong Kong residents, attempted to smuggle the ivory to the Chinese mainland via Hong Kong, according to the customs.
Shenzhen customs received a tip-off about the smuggling ring after cracking a similar case in the southern province of Guangdong in July 2017.
A joint task force led by the General Administration of Customs was later set up to facilitate further investigation.
The team launched two raids that led to the arrest of the suspects in June and July.
It is estimated that the gang has smuggled nearly a tonne of ivory, rhino horns and related products since November 2017.
The Chinese government suspended imports of ivory and all ivory products in 2015 and ended commercial processing and sales of ivory at the end of 2017.