Hong Kong Customs detected on June 11 a sea-bound suspected cargo smuggling case and seized about 2 340 kilogrammes of pangolin scales from a container at the Kwai Chung Customhouse Cargo Examination Compound. The total value of the seizure was about $12 million. This is the largest seizure of pangolin scales in five years.
Through risk assessment at the end of May, Customs officers selected a shipment arriving from Kenya for inspection and found about 1 000 kilogrammes of pangolin scales. With subsequent intelligence gathered, another related shipment from Cameroon was identified for inspection. Upon examination, Customs officers found about 2 340 kilogrammes of pangolin scales in a 20-foot container, declared as "Zingana Sawn Timber". The two batches of pangolin scales were not declared on the manifests.
Upon follow-up investigation, a 46-year-old man was arrested on June 13 and released on bail.
A Customs spokesperson said today (June 16) that the department will continue to co-operate with the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department to enforce the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance and deter the trafficking of wildlife species.
Under the Import and Export Ordinance, any person found guilty of importing unmanifested cargoes is liable to a maximum fine of $2 million and imprisonment for seven years.
Under the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance, any person found guilty of illegally importing a specimen of a scheduled species on Appendix II without a licence is liable to a maximum fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for six months.
Ends/Monday, June 16, 2014