Cambodia makes record breaking ivory haul at port

December 17, 2018 | Brainwave Science

Cambodia makes record breaking ivory haul at portSITUATION

Cambodian authorities seized more than 3 tons of rare African ivory hidden inside an abandoned shipping container. This is the country’s largest haul of elephant tusks in the last four years.

Tipped off by the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh, a total of 1,026 pieces of elephant tusks, weighing up to 3.2 tons, was found on Thursday at Phnom Penh Autonomous Port.

He said the ivory originated in the southern African nation of Mozambique. The elephant tusks arrived at the Phnom Penh port in July, but officials found them only this Thursday. The elephant tusks were hidden among marble in a container that was abandoned.

Sun Chhay, the director of Customs and Excise Office at the port did not comment on where the ivory was supposed to be headed. He said that Cambodia was being used as a transit point.

It is not uncommon for Cambodia to see large hauls of smuggled wildlife goods. In the past few years, the country has become notorious as a hub of the illegal wildlife trade. This is primarily because of the demand from China and Vietnam.

In May 2014, 3 tons of African ivory was found by the customs officials seized some hidden in a container of beans at Cambodia’s port of Sihanoukville.


Interior Minister Sar said Cambodia had been used as a hub to smuggle wildlife species and related products to third countries and beyond. The country has fallen victim to the high demand for illegal wildlife products.

According to the Kheng, Cambodia is neither a country that allows the illegal wildlife trade nor has a demand for wildlife produce or for daily consumption. But the world’s situation has turned Cambodia into a place used to illegally transport and smuggle wildlife across the border to third countries.

The abundance of natural resources in Cambodia and its geographical location in Southeast Asia makes it a hot favourite for rampant exploitation.

Trafficking of wildlife and its products not only leads to environmental destruction but also leads to an increase in money laundering, terrorism, human trafficking, drug and illegal firearm trafficking.

It is unfortunate that such shipments are not easy to be discovered for months. It can be understood only a tiny fraction of such shipments are caught by chance.

There is a need for an approach which can nip this problem at the bud. This shipment in of the discovered ivory was lying in the port since July and was only discovered 5 months later.

It is extremely difficult to pinpoint the originating location of such a consignment. Of course, the port of origin can be found out but finding the organisation behind the hunting and processing of such shipments is an extremely tough task.

Moreover, the destination port can be found out easily, but it is next to impossible to find the consignee.

The rampant sale and purchase of illegal items on the hidden side of the Internet compound this problem. This un-policed, un-traceable and so-called underground version of the internet is referred to as the Dark-web, and this is the modern black-market is where most of such illegal transactions are made.


The rate of poaching is extremely high, and at this rate, several species run the of risk being wiped out within the next ten years. By winning against these traffickers, the law enforcement agencies will not only defeat crime but also play a major role in the preservation of nature and wildlife.

The conventional reactive approaches have been tried and tested. They are simply ineffective in the fight against traffickers. The Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) commented in 2014 that, illegal wildlife trade is a very serious transnational organized crime which requires effective legislation and criminal justice systems. This ruthless trade is enormous and amounts to US$8 – US$10 billion annually.

The Cambodian anti-trafficking agencies are trying their best to curb trafficking for a long time. They will appreciate what the modern investigation technology developed by Brainwave Science can do. This tool, called iCognative is the key to bringing down the criminal organizations behind the blatant large-scale smuggling of wildlife animals and/or their body parts.

Forensic science has been changing. It was discovered that the print of a human finger is unique to an individual.  DNA profiling has also been in use to match a suspect to a crime. The downside is that Fingerprints and DNA evidence are uncovered in only 1 – 2% of all cases. Thus, the application of these techniques is extremely limited. Also, DNA fingerprinting can only be successfully applied when investigators collect and preserve fingerprints and biological samples. This process is also very time-consuming and labor- intensive.

iCognative by Brainwave Science overhauls forensics massively. It pinpoints and traces the origin of criminal activity, which is stored within the brain of the planners and plotters.

In the case of the discovery of the huge haul of smuggled ivory, iCognative can be of enormous help. There is a great amount of evidence which can be gathered from the consignment. This evidence includes biological samples which can help narrow down the to the exact region where the elephants may have been hunted. The shipping line and service provider which transported the consignment to Cambodia can be identified using the paper trail. The kind of marble along which this ivory was hidden can also help the agencies narrow down to the perpetrators.

Suspects, in this case, cannot fool the iCognative test. Images, words and phrases (also called stimuli) related to the above-mentioned evidence can be uploaded into the iCognative system. The subject is made to wear a proprietary headset which measures his brainwave response when he is exposed to each stimulus. Within 45 minutes, the iCognative system analyses the data and computes the result. The data is then analyzed with a proprietary algorithm that computes the result. The Results showing statistical confidence in percentage are displayed at the end of analysis in two categories: “Information Present” or “Information Absent.”

The test is fully automated, easy to learn and administer. The USP of iCognative is that does not involve any torture during interrogation. Also, since it directly records and analyses brainwaves, it is known to be foolproof. There are no known countermeasures. It reports no false positives and no false negatives. This non-invasive technique has revolutionized intelligence collection across the world. iCognative has over 99% accuracy and is backed up by Brainwave Science which is guided by relentless research and unshaken ethics.

iCognative is the weapon which the Cambodian agencies need to win the war against wildlife trafficking and related crimes.

Main Source: BBC

Image Source: BBC