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CITES commends HK on protection of endangered species
Tuesday, May 6, 2003

The Customs and Excise Department (C&ED) and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) have been commended by an international authority for their exemplary action to combat illegal exports of ivory last October.

Hong Kong is the first recipient of the Secretary-General's Certificate of Commendation by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Geneva, Switzerland. The certificate was introduced in 2002 to recognise exemplary enforcement actions by CITES parties.

At a presentation ceremony today (May 6), AFCD's Assistant Director (Conservation), Mr Lay Chik-chuen, on behalf of the Secretary-General of CITES, presented the certificate to C&ED.

"It is our honour to be the first recipients of this award. The certificate is awarded for our enforcement action which resulted in the forfeiture of 506 kilograms of ivory and 16 months imprisonment for the perpetrator.

"In a notification issued to the 161 CITES parties, the Secretary-General attributed the successful enforcement action to the excellent co-operation between C&ED and AFCD, and viewed this as a deterrent to those who are tempted by the illegal trade in endangered species," a Government spokesman said.

Hong Kong has a long history of commitment to the implementation of CITES. The Animals and Plants (Protection of Endangered Species) Ordinance, which is enforced by both C&ED and AFCD, was enacted in 1976. And the Endangered Species Protection Liaison Group combines the expertise of the two departments and the Police in curbing illegal trade in endangered species.

"Hong Kong will continue its efforts to combat illegal trade in endangered species to ensure the sustainability of wildlife resources," the spokesman added.

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