Hong Kong seizes record eight tonnes of pangolin scales

Hong Kong seizes record eight tonnes of pangolin scales

Hong Kong customs officers unveiled a record seizure of pangolin scales on Friday, the latest huge haul to underscore the city's central role in the lucrative and booming illegal wildlife trade.

Hong Kong has always been considered a hub for illicit wildlife trade due to its busy port and status of a gateway into mainland china.

The Vietnam News Agency also reported yesterday that authorities in the port city of Hai Phong had discovered another 1.4 tonnes of pangolin scales in a shipping container from Nigeria.

Seized ivory elephant tusks are displayed during a press conference at the Kwai Chung Customhouse Cargo Examination Compound in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong customs officers have detained a man, 39, suspected of being the boss of a local trading company, and a 29-year-old female company staff member, according to Wong.

Pangolin populations have been decimated by a surge in demand, particularly in mainland China.

The scales of the pangolin, an endangered anteater, are said to have medicinal value in parts of Asia.

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Hong Kong customs once seized more than 7 metric tons of smuggled pangolin scales in a special operation in 2017, Wong added.

"It is clearly impossible that the pangolin species can withstand such high rates of poaching, trafficking and trade".

Some 100,000 pangolins are snatched every year from the wild and sent to Vietnam and China.

Customs officials who worked with their mainland counterparts to intercept the goods, found the species buried under frozen meat inside a refrigerated container.

Today as we planned to offer a preview of a sobering Helping Hand segment we'll have next Friday based around the world's most trafficked mammal, a toothless, defenseless animal, unfortunately this most vulnerable creature has made news now on back-to-back days with unprecedented, record setting seizures of their body parts, both headed to the same Asia Pacific country, as conservationists say with these kinds of mind-boggling busts, extinction appears inevitable.

In a 2018 review released on Thursday, customs officials said there had been a 72 percent increase in seizures of endangered species with the total volume of goods seized increasing more than treble.

Doing so would provide "a powerful disincentive to wildlife criminals, and importantly, would prevent reinvestment of profits into further criminal activities", the report said.

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