Saturday, 17 May 2014

Hong Kong burns ivory stockpile

Hong Kong began to burn its 28 tonnes of contraband ivory yesterday on 15 May, in what will be the largest amount destroyed anywhere in the world so far.

Since 2000, Hong Kong customs have seized approximately 33 tonnes of illegal ivory, while nearly six tonnes of ivory are reported to have been seized in other countries en route to Hong Kong, and 2.87 tonnes of ivory have been seized overseas after leaving Hong Kong. These figures mean that Hong Kong is ranked fifth globally in terms of the quantity of ivory seized; highlighting its importance as a major transit hub as well as an end-use market.

Cheryl Lo from WWF-Hong Kong said: “We appreciate the government’s strong action, and we also recognize that destroying ivory is only one of a suite of enforcement actions that need to be taken by any country implicated in ivory trafficking.”

Dr Yannick Kuehl, TRAFFIC’s Regional Director, East & South Asia said: “This remarkable ivory destruction event should be followed up by actions which ensure that Hong Kong complies with international commitments under CITES. The latest law enforcement techniques need to be brought to bear on this issue, including forensic examination of seizures, profiling of criminal activity and targeting of cargos from high-risk countries.”

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