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Public reminded not to bring in endangered species without licence
Friday, July 22, 2005

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) today (July 22) reminded the public not to bring into Hong Kong endangered species without a licence on their return from visits to other places.

A department spokesman said a total of 146 seizures were made at the customs checkpoints in the first six months of this year and the figure for the same period last year was 152.

Items commonly seized from travellers include orchid, cactus, American ginseng root, stony coral skeleton, crocodile meat and crocodile leather products.

The spokesman urged the public to pay more attention when buying wildlife products for souvenirs abroad. As some plant and animal species are facing the threat of extinction, import and export of these species are regulated under an international convention.

"Since it is not easy to know which wildlife souvenirs are made of endangered species, members of the public are advised not to purchase such items whenever they are in doubt. Moreover, they should be mindful of claims that licences are not required for certain endangered species because they may not be given the accurate and updated information," he said.

Under the Animals and Plants (Protection of Endangered Species) Ordinance, the import, export or possession of endangered animals and plants, including their parts and derivatives, requires a licence which must be obtained in advance from the AFCD. The control applies to tourist items as well.

Anyone found guilty of importing, exporting or possessing any endangered species, without a licence issued by the AFCD, is liable to a maximum fine of $5 million, imprisonment for two years and mandatory forfeiture of the specimens upon conviction, the spokesman added.

For details, please call the Government hotline on 1823 or visit the related website on www.cites.org.hk.

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