A JUDGE has called for stiffer penalties for companies illegally selling Chinese medicine containing parts of endangered species. The heavier penalties would deter the companies from breaking laws designed to protect wildlife, Mr Justice Duffy said in the High Court yesterday. Fines for the unlawful use of ingredients from endangered species in medicine should be at least $150,000, the judge said. 'It seems to me that the fine has to be pitched at a level which . . . would be regarded by all as a deterrent level,' he said. Mr Justice Duffy said magistrates generally imposed fines of no more than $45,000 but this did not reflect the seriousness of the offences. But he reduced the fine of one company which appealed against its sentence of $500,000. Mr Justice Duffy said the magistrate who imposed the fine had failed to consider the medicine involved was only worth $2,000. It was at the lower end of the scale and a fine of $200,000 was appropriate, he said. Both Prime Company Ltd was taken to court after Agriculture and Fisheries Department officers searched its premises in Wing Lok Street, Sheung Wan. They found 8,760 pills in 73 bottles labelled Sea Horse Genital Tonic Pills, 180 pills in three boxes labelled as Musk Chui Feng Tou Kuwan and 1,680 pills in 84 boxes labelled as Yang Zhi Bao Dan. The ingredient descriptions for the medicines suggested the presence of tiger bone or tiger penis. The company did not have a valid licence for the goods. An examination of the medicine failed to show the presence of bone or penis but companies can be prosecuted if their medicine claims to contain the ingredients. Both Prime Company Ltd pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled medicine without a licence.