Traveller jailed for smuggling pangolin scales
Monday, May 6, 2019
A traveller who smuggled pangolin scales was convicted for violating the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance, and was sentenced to imprisonment today (May 6).
A spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said that the 44-year-old male passenger arrived on November 13, 2018, from the Democratic Republic of Congo via Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He was in transit to Macao by ferry. About 48 kilograms of pangolin scales were found in the passenger's two pieces of baggage by Customs officers.
Subsequent to follow-up investigations, the AFCD charged the man with the illegal import of listed species in Appendix I to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). He was convicted at the District Court today. With 30 months' imprisonment as the starting point for sentencing, the defendant was sentenced to 20 months behind bars after a one-third reduction as he pleaded guilty.
All eight species of pangolin are listed in Appendix I to the CITES and regulated under the Ordinance in Hong Kong. The penalties under the Ordinance have been amended and increased since May 1 last year. Any person importing, exporting or possessing specimens of endangered species not in accordance with the Ordinance will be liable to a maximum fine of $10 million and imprisonment for 10 years. The specimens will also be forfeited upon conviction. Members of the public are urged not to break the law.
To enquire about the control of endangered species or to report suspected irregularities, the public can call the AFCD on 1823 or visit the website www.cites.hk.