Hong Kong customs seize over HK$10m in illegal ivory

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 January, 2013, 2:57pm
UPDATED : Friday, 04 January, 2013, 5:35pm

Customs officials have confiscated HK$10.6 million worth of ivory in a cargo from Africa, in the third large seizure of the banned product in three months, they said on Friday.

Officers discovered the 779 pieces of elephant tusk, weighing about 1,300kg, on Thursday afternoon while scanning a container with X-rays.

The ivory was found at the bottom of five wooden boxes. The tusks were wrapped in canvas bags that were covered by stones – and construction stones were listed on the customs declaration.

The shipment, from Kenya, reached Hong Kong via Malaysia.

Vincent Wong Sui-hang, the head of customs port control, said officers were on the alert because imports of construction material from Kenya were unusual and the receiving company was new.

In October, a record ivory haul of 3,800kg – valued at more than HK$27 million – was found in two shipments, one from Kenya and one from Tanzania.

In November, the department seized 1,330kg of tusks, worth an estimated HK$10.65 million, in a container of sunflower seeds shipped from Tanzania.