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Public reminded not to bring in endangered species without licences
Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) today (April 11) reminded people returning from visits to other places not to bring endangered species or their products into Hong Kong without a licence.

A department spokesman said a total of 72 seizures were made at customs checkpoints from January to March this year, against 115 cases for the same period last year.

Items commonly seized from travellers include orchids, cacti, Huamei, stony coral skeleton, crocodile meat and stuffed specimen.

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

"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. 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.

Any person 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.