Hong Kong has just announced that, in cooperation with mainland China, its customs enforcement seized $41 million worth of ivory tusks and other exotic animal parts.
The butchering of elephants is, according to the U.S. government, the result of massive organized crime, not simply excessive hunting. It is a topic that Christiane Amanpour has examined recently, with The New York Times’ Jeffrey Gettleman and with reporter Bryan Christy, who made a documentary for National Geographic called "Battle for the Elephants."
The full statement from the Hong Kong government is below.
Overseas Public Relations Sub-division
Information Services Department
Wednesday, Aug 7, 2013
"Through intelligence exchange with the Mainland Customs, Hong Kong Customs yesterday (August 6) smashed an endangered species smuggling case at Kwai Chung Customhouse Cargo Examination Compound.
"During the operation, Hong Kong Customs seized a total of 1 120 ivory tusks, 13 rhino horns and five pieces of leopard skin, weighing about 2 266 kilograms in total, inside a container shipped from Nigeria to Hong Kong. The total seizure is worth about $41 million.
"Acting on intelligence provided by the Mainland Customs, Hong Kong Customs monitored two suspicious containers shipped from Nigeria. On August 6, Customs officers detained the two containers declared as containing "Red Cam Process Wood" for inspection and found the seizure inside 21 sealed wooden crates at the rear of one of the containers.
"The Group Head (Ports Control), Mr Vincent Wong, said today (August 7) at a press conference that Hong Kong Customs will continue to work closely with the Mainland Customs to combat transnational smuggling activities.
"In addition, Hong Kong Customs will continue to co-operate with the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department to enforce the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance and deter the trafficking of wildlife species.
"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 trading endangered species for commercial purposes is liable to a maximum fine of $5 million and imprisonment for two years."