The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department today (March 15) reminded people returning to Hong Kong from visits to other places not to bring in endangered species without a licence.
Under the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance, the import, export, re-export or possession of endangered animals and plants, including their parts and derivatives, requires a licence which must be obtained in advance from the department. The control also applies to tourist items.
"A total of 38 seizures were made at customs checkpoints in January and February. This was less than the 42 cases recorded in the same period last year," a department spokesman said.
The spokesman urged travellers to pay more attention when buying wildlife products as souvenirs abroad. Some plant and animal species are facing the threat of extinction, so their import and export is regulated under an international convention. Commonly encountered examples include ivory, sea turtle specimens, orchids, cacti and pitcher plants.
"Since it is not easy to know which wildlife souvenirs are made of endangered species, people are advised not to purchase such items whenever in doubt," he said.
Any person found guilty of importing, exporting, re-exporting or possessing, even for non-commercial purposes, any endangered species without a licence was liable to a maximum fine of $100,000, imprisonment for one year and mandatory forfeiture of the specimens, the spokesman said.
For details, please call the Government hotline on 1823 or visit the related website on http://www.cites.org.hk.