Trader arrested after banned shahtoosh shawls sold from hotel

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 December, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 December, 1998, 12:00am

A man has been arrested for allegedly trying to sell 23 luxury shawls made illegally from the hair of endangered Tibetan antelope.

The suspect, an Indian national, is alleged to have tried to sell the shahtoosh shawls from a hotel room in Central.

Officials were acting on a tip-off from wildlife conservationists.

The suspect is due to report back to the police in a month.

The seizure was a joint operation between Agriculture and Fisheries and Customs and Excise officials.

Endangered species protection officer with the Agriculture and Fisheries Department Cheung Chi-sun said: 'We are trying to confirm the material of the shawls to see if they have come from the endangered Tibetan antelope.' Trading in the wool of the Tibetan antelope is banned under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

People who buy the soft, luxurious material can be fined up to $100,000 and face a year in jail.

Three to four Tibetan antelope are killed to obtain the wool in just one shawl.

In a survey released this month, environmentalists estimated that there were only about 75,000 Tibetan antelope left in the wild.