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Public reminded not to bring in orchids without licence
Monday, February 7, 2005

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) today (February 7) reminded people not to bring into Hong Kong orchids without a licence when they 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.

"A total of 54 seizures of orchids were made at customs checkpoints since January this year. The same number of seizure was made during the Chinese New Year last year," he said.

With the orchid is facing the threat of extinction, import and export of the species are regulated under an international convention.

"Under the Animals and Plants (Protection of Endangered Species) Ordinance, trade in highly endangered wild orchids, such as slipper orchids, is prohibited." the spokesman said.

"The import, export or possession of other wild orchids, including their parts and derivatives, requires a licence, which must be obtained in advance from the AFCD.

"As for artificially propagated orchids including their parts and derivatives, prior to the import and export of these items, they also require a valid export permit issued by the exporting country."

Anyone contravening the above provisions was liable to a maximum fine of $5 million, two-year imprisonment and mandatory forfeiture of the specimens upon conviction, the spokesman said.

For details, please call the government hotline on 1823 or visit the related website on http://www.cites.org.hk.

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