Pangolin scales are popular in China as a remedy for a number of ills. Photo: iStock

Authorities in Vietnam seized 5.26 tonnes of pangolin scales last week after they searched containers allegedly holding cashew nuts.

According to local authorities, the scales were hidden in containers holding cashew nuts imported from Nigeria, Reuters reported. Customs and anti-smuggling officers made the bust at Cai Mep port in Ba Ria Vung Tau province on May 24.

The scales were stored in 151 bags in two containers and had arrived at Ca Map on May 22. Only nine days before making the discovery in Cai Mep, authorities in the city of Haiphong also seized 8.3 tonnes of pangolin scales which came from Africa.

Nguyen Van Thai, the director of NGO Save Vietnam’s Wildlife, said most pangolin scales intercepted in Vietnam come from Africa and are usually destined for China.

Pangolin scales are ground up and used in traditional remedies. The trade is outlawed in Vietnam.

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