One of Hong Kong's leading green groups will today call for an end to the sale of ivory in the city. Marking a policy shift that will put pressure on the government to act, WWF-Hong Kong is also expected to urge the phasing out of commercial ivory processing, aiming for the closure of carving factories producing items for the local market. The call comes amid fresh evidence suggesting that Hong Kong is playing a leading role in the slaughter of African elephants through the continued existence of an ivory trade in the city. A report by respected Nairobi-based conservation group Save the Elephants will today document Hong Kong's role in supporting the ivory trade. The report will show the city is a major retail market for ivory products and a transit hub for the trade. "We think the current system has a lot of loopholes that people can exploit," said a source familiar with WWF's thinking. "That's why we think the government should phase out processing here and be far stronger in enforcement and support. We think there should be stronger monitoring at the container port and the airport." Previously, WWF-Hong Kong had said a ban on the sale of ivory was a "last-resort" measure, going against the trend of calls by other green groups. Elephant protection campaigner Alex Hofford of US-based conservation group WildAid, said: "We are excited that WWF-Hong Kong is effectively calling on the government to outlaw the city's currently legal ivory trade. "With Hong Kong's largest and most well-respected wildlife conservation charity at our side, we feel more confident than ever that a commercial ivory sales ban is within our reach. "Now that the green groups and the public speak with one voice, the Hong Kong government has no place to hide. They must act now to restore Hong Kong's reputation." A survey by WildAid in May revealed that 75 per cent of Hongkongers supported a ban on the local sale of ivory. However, fewer than a quarter of 1,021 adults polled knew it was illegal to import or export ivory from Hong Kong without first obtaining a licence. The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department had previously insisted that a ban on sales was unnecessary as the current regulatory and licensing system was effective.