Hong Kong customs seize 24 tonnes of wood from Honduras in HK$2.4 million smuggling case
Officers looking into where consignment of Honduras rosewood hidden in shipping container was headed
Hong Kong customs officers have seized nearly 24 tonnes of high-value wood from endangered trees – estimated to be worth about HK$2.4 million (US$305,800) – hidden in a shipping container that arrived in the city from Central America.
This incident, involving suspected Honduras rosewood, is the third wood-smuggling case reported in the city this year.
Logs weighing a total of 23,800kg were discovered on Thursday when customs officers opened the container for inspection at the Kwai Chung Customhouse cargo examination compound.
“Customs officers inspected a container arriving in Hong Kong from Honduras. Upon inspection, customs officers found the suspected Honduras rosewood in the container,” the Customs and Excise Department said in a statement issued on Friday.
Officers are looking into where the consignment was headed. No one has been arrested.
The Post understands the wood was probably intended for use in the manufacture of high-end furniture.
The case was handed to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department for follow-up investigation.
The incident follows the February 5 seizure of 26.16 tonnes of Thailand rosewood 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 29.23 tonnes of Honduras rosewood worth HK$2.9 million was found in a container from Guatemala. A 35-year-old woman was arrested in connection with the case.
In Hong Kong, importing or exporting an endangered species without a licence carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail and a HK$5 million fine under the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance.
Anyone importing or exporting unmanifested cargo faces seven years in prison and a HK$2 million fine.
Members of the public may report any suspected smuggling activities to the customs 24-hour hotline at 2545 6182.