The "father of Lan Kwai Fong" has called on the government to "step up to the plate" and join the world in imposing a complete ban on the ivory trade. Allan Zeman, the businessman behind the Central nightlife district and a former chairman of Ocean Park, wants licences for the import and re-export of 1989 pre-convention ivory to be halted and the sale of elephant tusks phased out. Last month, the government said it was "open-minded" regarding a ban on the domestic trade, in what was seen as a major policy shift on the issue. READ MORE: Hong Kong government ‘open-minded’ about ivory ban in major policy shift It came as green groups widened criticism of the city's role in supporting the international ivory trade. "It is tragic that Hong Kong should be even associated with something the world is now becoming very aware of," said Zeman, at a press conference in Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, centre of the city's ivory trade. He added: "Elephants dying really makes me angry. Man himself wants a better world for our children … and only governments have the ability to ban this." An Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department spokesman maintained it "welcomes the joint efforts of different sectors to promote public awareness on endangered species protection". It added: "It would be more effective if the government, non-government organisations and the public could work together in protecting endangered species." Among the latest voices to back the ban is Ocean Park's executive director of zoological operations and education Suzanne Gendron. Actress Li Bingbing recently endorsed conservation group WildAid in calling upon Hong Kong to join mainland China and the United States in banning the domestic ivory trade. In July, Kenya-based wildlife charity Save The Elephants revealed Hong Kong had more elephant ivory items on sale than any other city in the world. Zeman yesterday helped unveil a new exhibition called Love is Wild , bringing Hong Kong celebrities to the wild and up close with elephants to raise awareness of the poaching threat to the mammals.