image image

Crime in Hong Kong

Customs seizes 29 tonnes of endangered wood worth HK$1.15 million in shipping container from Honduras

Haul is fifth major wood-smuggling case in city this year, bringing total confiscated for 2018 to 114 tonnes

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 June, 2018, 2:46pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 June, 2018, 2:46pm

Hong Kong customs officers confiscated 29 tonnes of endangered wood estimated to be worth HK$1.15 million (US$146,500) in a shipping container that arrived from Honduras.

The haul of suspected Guatemalan rosewood was the fifth major wood-smuggling case detected by customs officers in the city this year, bringing the total seizure of high-value wood in 2018 to 114 tonnes. That represents a 170 per cent increase compared with the 42 tonnes seized in the whole of last year.

The latest seizure was made on Wednesday when customs officers opened the container for inspection at the Tsing Yi customs cargo examination compound.

“Upon inspection, customs officers found the suspected Guatemalan rosewood in the container,” the Customs and Excise Department said in press release. No arrests have been made.

Customs officers found the suspected Guatemalan rosewood in the container
Customs and Excise Department

The case was handed over to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department for follow-up investigation.

This follows the June 5 seizure of 5.7 tonnes of red sandalwood estimated to be worth HK$6.9 million hidden in a shipping container from Malaysia.

On April 19, customs officers confiscated 23.8 tonnes of Honduran rosewood worth HK$2.4 million in a container from Honduras.

On February 5, 26 tonnes of Thailand rosewood was found hidden in two shipping containers from Thailand. The haul had an estimated market value of HK$3.6 million.

On January 16, a consignment of 29 tonnes of Honduran rosewood worth HK$2.9 million was found in a container from Guatemala.

In Hong Kong, importing or exporting an endangered species without a licence carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail and a HK$10 million fine.

Members of the public may report any suspected smuggling activities to customs’ 24-hour hotline at +852 2545 6182.