PHNOM PENH, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian authorities have seized more than 3.2 tons of trafficked elephant tusks at the Phnom Penh Autonomous Port, a senior customs official said on Saturday.
The ivory tusks were found on Thursday hidden in an abandoned container that had sat unopened at the port since July, said Sun Chhay, director of the Customs and Excise Office at the Phnom Penh Autonomous Port.
"A total of 1,026 pieces of elephant tusks, weighing 3,230 kg, was found when the authorities decided to open the container on Dec. 13," he told Xinhua.
The smugglers were likely to abandon the illegal goods after they suspected that the authorities were waiting for them, he said, adding that the ivory tusks had been imported from the southern African nation of Mozambique.
"Cambodia is just a transit point and the elephant tusks are destined for a third country," he said, adding that he did not know the intended destination of the illegal ivory.
Large hauls of smuggled wildlife goods are not uncommon in the Southeast Asian nation in recent years.
In May 2014, the country seized three tons of ivory at the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port in Southwestern Preah Sihanouk province, and, in Dec. 2016, confiscated another 1.58 tons of elephant ivory, tiger bones and pangolin scales hidden in hollowed-out logs imported from Mozambique.
Also, in Dec. last year, the authorities seized 941 kg of elephant tusks concealed in timbers inside three containers, which was also imported from Mozambique.