HK seizes record eight tonnes of pangolin scales

James Marshall
February 4, 2019

Originating in Nigeria, the shipment was bound for Vietnam, they added.

Officials say 745 cases of illegal endangered species trafficking were exposed a year ago in Hong Kong.

The announcement came less than two weeks after a coalition of local conservation groups called on Hong Kong to do more to crack down on illegal wildlife smuggling by ending legal loopholes and lenient sentences.

Pangolin populations have been decimated by a surge in demand, particularly in mainland China.

Customs on January 16th, seized about 8,300 kilograms of pangolin scales and 2,100 kilograms of ivory tusks at the Kwai Chung cargo port located in the former British colony.

"It is the largest smuggling case involving pangolin scales that Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department has cracked so far", Wong Lai-yung, divisional commander of Special Investigation Division 1 with Syndicate Crimes Investigation Bureau of Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department, told a news conference in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, on Friday.

The authorities arrested the receivers of the items - a 39-year-old man and a 29-year-old woman from a trading company in Hong Kong.

HK seizes record eight tonnes of pangolin scales
HK seizes record eight tonnes of pangolin scales

"The low temperature environment created by the ice bags and frozen meat helped mask the distinctive smell of the pangolin scales".

Pangolins, also known as scaly anteaters, are critically endangered. Among them, 54 cases involve smuggling of pangolin scales, 170 percent higher than such cases registered in 2017.

The consignment is estimated at $7.90million, Hong Kong customs officials said yesterday.

Some 100,000 pangolins are snatched every year from the wild and sent to Vietnam and China.

Today as we planned to offer a preview of a sobering Helping Hand segment we'll have next Friday based around the world's most trafficked mammal, a toothless, defenseless animal, unfortunately this most vulnerable creature has made news now on back-to-back days with unprecedented, record setting seizures of their body parts, both headed to the same Asia Pacific country, as conservationists say with these kinds of mind-boggling busts, extinction appears inevitable.

The officials labeled the seizure a record.

ADM Capital Foundation, which focuses on environmental challenges across Asia, wrote in a January report that wildlife trafficking should be incorporated under Hong Kong's Organised and Serious Crime Ordinance (OSCO).

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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