Hong Kong Customs has seized more than 1,148 ivory tusks, valued at HK$17.46 million (about US$2.23 million), that were being smuggled through Kwai Chung Customhouse Cargo Examination Compound.
Customs officers, through risk assessment, selected a 20-foot container declared to contain “plank” arriving from Togo for inspection. After X-ray examination, the officers found the ivory tusks, weighing 2,183 kilograms (about 4,813 pounds) in total, in the innermost part of the container, and seized them for further investigation. The ivory tusks were packed in 30 sacks and covered by wooden boards. Follow-up action is still ongoing to locate the smuggling syndicate members.
Under Hong Kong’s Import and Export Ordinance, any person found guilty of importing unmanifested cargoes is liable to a maximum fine of $256,410 and imprisonment for seven years. In addition, under the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance, any person found guilty of trading in endangered species for commercial purposes is liable to a maximum fine of $641,025 and imprisonment for two years.