Laos, destination in illegal ivory trade, so far eludes global crackdown

When the authorities in Thailand recently intercepted huge stashes of ivory stuffed inside shipments of beans and tea leaves, the seizures were described as groundbreaking international police work.

But there was a major omission in the operation, which took place over the past four months and uncovered more than 1,300 elephant tusks: There was no cooperation with and no arrests in the country to which the ivory was being shipped, Laos, which in recent years has become a major transit point for a variety of exotic and endangered animals.

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