Hong Kong Customs seizes tiger teeth, pangolin meat and live turtles suspected to be scheduled endangered species (with photos)

28 Jan 2024

Hong Kong Customs detected two smuggling endangered species cases at Hong Kong International Airport between January 26 and 27. A total of about 230 grams of tiger teeth, about 128g of pangolin meat and 64 live turtles, all suspected to be scheduled endangered species, were seized. The total estimated market value was about $700,000. A man and a woman were arrested.

The first case involved a 50-year-old transit male passenger who arrived in Hong Kong from Nigeria via Ethiopia and planned to take the cross-boundary ferry to Shekou on January 26. When Customs officers conducted examination of the man's baggage at the SkyPier Terminal in the airport, the batch of tiger teeth and pangolin meat with a total estimated market value of $50,000 was found inside his check-in baggage. Tiger teeth and pangolin meat are specimens of endangered species listed in Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and regulated under the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance (Ordinance) (Cap. 586) in Hong Kong.

The second case involved a 45-year-old female passenger who arrived in Hong Kong from Tokyo, Japan, yesterday (January 27). During customs clearance, the batch of live turtles, which was suspected to be scheduled endangered species listed under the Ordinance, was found in her check-in suitcase. The estimated market value of the turtles was about $650,000.

Both cases have been handed over to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department for follow-up action. The arrested man has been charged with one count of exporting specimens of Appendix I species not under and in accordance with an export licence, whereas the arrested woman has been charged with one count of importing specimens of Appendix II species not under and in accordance with an import licence. The duo will separately appear at the West Kowloon Magistrates' Courts on Monday (January 29).

Hong Kong Customs reminds the public not to carry controlled items into and out of Hong Kong.

Under the Ordinance, any person importing, exporting or possessing specimens of endangered species not in accordance with the Ordinance commits an offence and will be liable to a maximum fine of $10 million and imprisonment for 10 years on conviction with the specimens forfeited.

Members of the public may report any suspected smuggling activities to Customs' 24-hour hotline 2545 6182 or its dedicated crime-reporting email account (crimereport@customs.gov.hk) or online form (eform.cefs.gov.hk/form/ced002).

Ends/Sunday, January 28, 2024

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