Customs foil ivory and turtle smuggling attempt

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 May, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 May, 2005, 12:00am

Updated at 7.00pm:
Customs officers on Monday afternoon foiled an attempt to smuggle 503 kilograms of ivory tusks and 556 kilograms of sea turtle scales into Hong Kong.

A spokesman said on Tuesday the seized goods were worth about $700,000.

The consignment, originating from Tanzania, was shipped to Hong Kong via Singapore in a 20-foot container. It was declared as 175 bags of 'dried fish maws', the spokesman said.

He said customs officers found 70 bags of ivory tusks and 51 bags of sea turtle scales concealed inside the consignment at the cargo examination compound in Kwai Chung Customhouse.

No arrests had been made by Tuesday afternoon, the spokesman confirmed.

The seizures were handed over to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department for follow-up investigations, the spokesman added.

Under the Import and Export Ordinance, people convicted of 'importing unmanifested cargoes' would be liable to a $2 million fine and seven years? jail.

Under the Animals and Plants (Protection of Endangered Species) Ordinance, people who are found guilty of trading endangered species for commercial purposes would be liable to a $5 million fine and two years? jail.