About 60 cases of bringing endangered species into Hong Kong without a license were found in the first three months this year, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department of Hong Kong said here Thursday.
"A total of 59 seizures were made at customs checkpoints from January to March this year, compared to 44 cases for the same period last year," a department spokesman Thursday said.
The spokesman urged travelers to pay more attention when buying wildlife products as souvenirs abroad. Some plant and animal species are facing the threat of extinction, so import and export of such species are regulated under an international convention.
Commonly encountered examples include ivory, stony coral skeleton, orchids, cacti and pitcher plants.
Under the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance, the import, export, possession of endangered animals and plants, including their parts and derivatives, requires a license which must be obtained in advance from the department.
Any person violated the ordinance was liable to a maximum fine of 100,000 HK dollars (about 12,916.26 US dollars), imprisonment for one year and mandatory forfeiture of the specimens upon conviction, the spokesman said.
(Xinhua News Agency April 10, 2009)