$13 million haul of ivory seized in Hong Kong

The ivory was hidden in a container marked as frozen fish.
The ivory was hidden in a container marked as frozen fish. Photo credit: HK Gov

Authorities have intercepted a massive 7.2-tonne shipment of ivory in Hong Kong, in what could be the largest seizure on record.

The ivory was intercepted in a shipping container from Malaysia that was labelled as frozen fish. Three people have been arrested in connection with the seizure, worth $12.7 million, and an investigation is ongoing.

The amount of ivory corresponds to about 800 dead elephants, Newsweek reports. Around 100 elephants are killed each day by ivory poachers, about eight percent of the elephant population every year.

Most ivory comes from the tusks and teeth of elephants.
Most ivory comes from the tusks and teeth of elephants. Photo credit: HK Gov

TRAFFIC east Asia director Dr Yannick Kuehl said: "No doubt Hong Kong's geographic location coupled with the currently relatively lenient penalties in place for anyone convicted of wildlife crime are reasons behind the shipment coming through the port - the case for increasing penalties has never been stronger."

Malaysia and Hong Kong are major smuggling hubs in the international trafficking of ivory. Hong Kong's legislative council is currently debate plans to end domestic ivory trade within the next five years, and neighbouring mainland China intends to end its domestic ivory trade by the end of this year.

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