Skip to main content

HK Customs foils largest recent case of suspected wood logs smuggling

17 December 2014


Hong Kong Customs detected the sea-bound suspected smuggling of wood logs in four containers at the Kwai Chung Customhouse Cargo Examination Compound on November 26. The 92 000 kilogrammes of wood logs of an endangered species commonly known as "Honduras rosewood" were valued at about $3 million. This was the largest case of wood logs smuggling in the past decade.

Customs officers, through risk assessment, identified a suspicious shipment declared to contain "rubber waste", arriving in Hong Kong from Guatemala via Mexico, for inspection. Upon examination of the shipment, Customs officers found a total of about 92 000 kilogrammes of wood logs of the endangered species in four 40-foot containers.

The wood logs were not declared on the manifest and were seized by Customs officers for further investigation.

Upon follow-up investigation, a 52-year-old man and a 54-year-old woman were arrested on December 10. They were released on bail pending further investigation.

The Divisional Commander (Containerized Cargo Examination), Mr Wong Wai-hung, said today (December 17) that the department will continue to closely co-operate with the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department to combat cross-boundary smuggling of endangered species.

Customs administrations around the world have heightened their awareness in combating illegal trade in wildlife with a special focus on animals and plants controlled by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, such as elephants, rhinoceroses and rosewood. Hong Kong Customs has participated in the World Customs Organization operation since 2012 and is committed to taking sustained vigorous enforcement action to clamp down on the trafficking of endangered wildlife, Mr Wong added.

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 III without a licence is liable to a maximum fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for six months.

 

Ends/Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Back to Press Releases Index Page

Press Releases