THe Third Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge border. Photo: Google Maps.

Customs officers have apprehended a Vietnamese woman in Thailand after she was found smuggling ivory products in her luggage while crossing the border from Laos into Thailand.

On December 16, customs officers were performing routine checks at the Third Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge border checkpoint district when Than Nguen Kee Thanh, 43, was found with  930 pieces of ivory weighing 22 kilograms in her luggage, Chiang Rai Times reported. Also found in her belongings was one million Baht (US$30,586).

The suspect claimed that she was hired to carry the bag and hand it over to another person at the Nakhon Phanom bus terminal. However, authorities believe that she is part of a large-scale smuggling ring.

It has been determined that the seized ivory is from Africa and that it had been moved into Vietnam before the attempt to smuggle it into Thailand.

On the Thai black market, ivory commands prices of between 50,000-60,000 baht per kilogram.

The smuggling of ivory is illegal in Thailand. The maximum penalty for transporting ivory in or out of the country is 10 years in jail.