WWF seeks rhino exhibit prosecution

PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 May, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 15 May, 1995, 12:00am

THE World Wide Fund for Nature yesterday called on the Government to prosecute the organisers of an art exhibition for importing two rhino horns without a licence.

The group said the exhibit should not get special treatment because it was an artwork - even though it has been hailed as a statement against poaching the animals for their highly prized horns.

The exhibit, Die Hoerner by the late German artist Joseph Beuys at the Arts Centre, shows two rhino horns connected by blood-filled plastic tubing.

It had been on show all week until Agriculture and Fisheries Department officials turned up on Saturday to confiscate it for investigation because the organisers did not have an import licence. But after some discussion, the exhibit - valued at $10 million - was placed in a storeroom.

The director of sponsor group the Goethe Institut, Dr Uwe Nischke, said he was unaware a licence was needed for display in Hong Kong. The group had a German export licence and the work had been shown around the world for 30 years without anyone trying to confiscate it, he said.

Under Hong Kong law, Dr Nischke could be fined $500,000 and jailed for a year.