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Hong Kong, a major transshipment hub for illicit wildlife products, is preparing to ban local ivory sales by 2021.
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But under Hong Kong’s customs regulations, anyone found importing or exporting endangered species without a license or trying to smuggle such items into or out of the territory faces possible fines and imprisonment.
Ivory tusks are displayed after being confiscated by Hong Kong Customs in Hong Kong, Thursday, July 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Customs officers discovered 7,200 kilograms (15,900 pounds) of elephant tusks on Tuesday in a shipment from Malaysia that had been labeled as frozen fish, the Customs and Excise Department said.
The department said three people at a trading company in Hong Kong have been arrested in connection with the shipment.
Hong Kong customs officials said Thursday they have seized more than $9 million worth of ivory this week in the city’s biggest haul in 30 years.
Customs officers displayed samples of the tusks piled on the floor at their offices close to some of Hong Kong’s giant container ports.