2010/12/11

Kenya arrests two Singaporeans in airport ivory bust

NAIROBI, December 11, 2010 (AFP) - Kenyan police arrested two Bangkok-bound Singaporeans who were checking in 92 kilos of illegal raw ivory at Nairobi airport, the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said Saturday.

The cargo, packed in four suitcases, was ready to board a midnight Kenya Airways flight to Bangkok, Thailand and detected by KWS Canine Unit rangers with their sniffer dogs, a statement said.

Kenya, which has successfully repopulated several herds of elephants in recent years, is a major source of smuggled ivory and has seen a rise in poaching lately.

Thailand is a known transit point for the ivory, most of which is then sent to China, where it is used in medicines and ornaments.

A US diplomatic cable published by the WikiLeaks website said the KWS had noticed a "marked increase in poaching wherever Chinese labour camps are located".

Chinese companies are in charge of several major infrastructure projects across the country.