Trader gets jail term for ivory stock

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 August, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 August, 2006, 12:00am

A medicine and herb trader was sentenced to four months' jail yesterday after he admitted holding HK$5 million worth of ivory tusks and cut pieces at a Sai Ying Pun warehouse.

Police found 390 tusks and 121 cut pieces in 62 cartons weighing almost 2,600kg in the warehouse at 23 Third Street, where Kwan Lee-ming and six others were arrested on July 8, Eastern Court heard.

Kwan, 61, pleaded guilty to a count of controlling items of a highly endangered species without a licence.

He was released on HK$250,000 cash bail pending an appeal against the sentence handed down by Principal Magistrate Michael Jenkins.

The six co-defendants pleaded not guilty to the same charge and were released on similar bail pending trial in January.

They include Taiwanese businessman Huang Hsin-ha, 51 and Hong Kong civil servant Chung Sai-wah, 51. The others are Hui Cho-sum, 58, unemployed, Hui Cho-chuen, 48, part-time worker, Kwan Hang-chu, 52, clerk, and Chow Kow-chung, 63, unemployed.

Huang was ordered to put up an additional HK$250,000 surety.

The six face penalties of up to a year in jail and a fine of up to HK$100,000 if convicted.

The owner of the ivory is still at large, the court heard.