Cairo airport customs foil Lebanon ivory smuggling bid

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CAIRO: Customs at Cairo International Airport have thwarted an attempt to smuggle three ivory statues that are prohibited from being exported or traded.

The statues were seized, preventing their export in a shipment of personal belongings to Lebanon.

Legal measures are underway in accordance with Presidential Decree No. 102 of 1983 to implement Egypt’s accession to the CITES convention and Egyptian Environmental Law No. 4 of 1994, and its amendments.

Ahmed Abdel Mohsen El-Shahawi, director general of Air Export Customs, executed the legal measures and issued a seizure report, implementing instructions from the head of the Customs Authority.

Customs officers led by El-Shahawi were able to intercept the smuggling attempt.

The seizure came as customs officer Ramadan Abu Raya became suspicious of 31 parcels of baggage listed in export documents as personal belongings.

When the parcels were inspected by a committee led by Mohamed Kamal — director of an investigation unit — it was found that there were two elephant statues as well as a gazelle statue.

When presented to the Wildlife Department, officials were informed that the statues and bases were ivory.

Separately, customs officers in the First Administration of Terminal 1 at the airport foiled three attempts to smuggle a quantity of medical supplies for orthopedics, in violation of Quarantine Law No. 44 of 1955 and its amendments.

Last week, customs officers at the Second Department of Passenger Building No. 2 at the airport thwarted an attempt to smuggle a quantity of diamonds, silverware and precious stones.

The smugglers were in violation of the provisions of Law No. 68 of 1976 regarding the control of precious metals and valuable stones, and its amendments.

The seizure came during inspection procedures for passengers arriving from Amman on a Royal Jordanian Airlines flight.

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