Hong Kong Customs said Tuesday in a statement that it had smashed a smuggling case and seized 33 rhino horns, 758 ivory chopsticks and 127 ivory bracelets with a total market value of about 17.4 million HK dollars (2.24 million U.S. dollars) hidden inside a container shipped to Hong Kong.
Acting on risk assessment, Hong Kong Customs officers on Monday afternoon selected a container declared to contain 63 packages of "scrap plastic" from a vessel arriving from Cape Town of South Africa, for inspection.
Under X-ray examination, officers found 33 rhino horns (weighing 86.54 kg), 758 ivory chopsticks (13.22 kg) and 127 ivory bracelets (9.2 kg) concealed inside a package of plastic scrap placed at the rear end of the container. The investigation is continuing and so far no arrests have been made.
Hong Kong Customs said it would continue to maintain close contact with overseas law enforcement agencies to exchange intelligence in combating cross-border smuggling crimes.
Under Hong Kong's Import and Export Ordinance, any person found guilty of importing unmanifested cargoes is liable to a maximum fine of 2 million HK dollars and imprisonment for seven years.
In addition, under the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance, any person found guilty of importing endangered species for commercial purposes is liable to a maximum fine of 5 million HK dollars and imprisonment for two years.