The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) today (February 9) reminded people not to bring into Hong Kong orchids without a licence on return from visits to other places.
A department spokesman said bringing in orchids without licence was common among travellers returning from Mainland China, particularly around Chinese New Year.
“There were 33 seizures of orchids at customs checkpoints during the Chinese New Year last year. Although this was less than the 64 cases recorded over the same period in 2005, they still accounted for more than half of the annual total,” he said.
As orchid is facing the threat of extinction, import and export of the species are regulated under an international convention.
“Under the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance, trade in highly endangered wild orchids, such as slipper orchids, is prohibited,” the spokesman said.
“The import, export, re-export or possession of other wild orchids, including their parts and derivatives, requires a licence, which must be obtained in advance from the department.
“Artificially propagated orchids including their parts and derivatives, prior to the import and export of these items, also require a valid export permit issued by the exporting country.”
Any person contravening the provisions is liable, upon conviction, to a maximum fine of $5 million, two-years’ imprisonment and mandatory forfeiture of the specimens, the spokesman added.
To remind travellers about the controls on importing orchids, the department has put up posters at control points.
For details, please call the Government hotline on 1823 or visit the related website on http://www.cites.org.hk.