Hong Kong Customs yesterday (May 9) made the largest seizure of elephant tusks in the recent twenty years.
A total of 3.9 tons of unmanifested elephant tusks, worth about $8 million, were seized in Kwai Chung.
While examining a 40-foot container at Kwai Chung Customhouse, Customs officers of Ports and Maritime Command found a concealed compartment at the innermost part of the container with the assistance of the Mobile X-ray Vehicle Scanning System. Inside the compartment were 3.9 tons of elephant tusks.
The 40-foot container originated from Douala, Cameroon was shipped to Hong Kong on May 3. It was declared to be carrying timber.
The elephant tusks were confirmed by Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) as scheduled endangered species listed under the Animals and Plants (Protection of Endangered Species) Ordinance.
Subsequent follow-up investigation by Customs showed that the container was intended for re-export to Macau.
So far, a 45-year-old man has been arrested.
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 Animals and Plants (Protection of Endangered Species) Ordinance, any person found guilty of trading endangered species for commercial purpose is liable to a maximum fine of $5 million and imprisonment for two years.
Ends/Wednesday, May 10, 2006