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Hong Kong makes record ivory seizure and arrests suspected traffickers

Customs officials in Hong Kong have seized about 7,200 kilograms of ivory, or nearly 16,000 pounds, from a shipping container that originated in Malaysia. The haul is the largest ever intercepted by any law enforcement authority worldwide since records began in 1989.

Three suspects have been arrested in connection with the crime, according to a customs press release. If convicted of multiple smuggling offenses, the perpetrators face up to nine years in prison and fines of HK$7 million (US$900,000) each.

The ivory seized represents 700 to 1,000 dead elephants, and includes many small tusks from calves. The size, shape and dark color of the tusks indicate that they likely came from imperiled Central African forest elephants.

Hong Kong announces bill to ban ivory trade

Hong Kong came one step closer to legislating a full ivory trade ban on Tuesday after a heated debate between conservationists and ivory traders. 

At a special meeting of the Hong Kong Legislative Council Panel on Environmental Affairs, it was announced that a new bill banning ivory will be put forward on 14 June 2017.

Hong Kong ivory ban receives widespread support

Hong Kong's Legislative Council Panel on Environmental Affairs will hear public comments Tuesday on government plans to ban the trade in elephant ivory products.

In advance of the public hearing, the council received about 275 letters in support of the ban from Hong Kong residents and other interested individuals from as far away as South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

Representatives from around 20 conservation groups, including WildAid, will address the council in favor of ending the ivory trade in Hong Kong. Mainland China is in the process of closing all its ivory carving factories and retail shops by the end of 2017.

China to close ivory shops and factories as price plummets

29 March 2017 – In a major step toward implementing its pledge to ban the ivory trade, China will close 67 carving factories and retail shops across the country on Friday, WildAid has learned. The first round of closures impacts about a third of all official shops and factories, according to documents released by China’s State Forestry Administration. 

Late last year, China announced plans to stop all domestic ivory sales by the end of 2017. The country is currently the world’s largest market for elephant ivory products. Although international trade is prohibited, up to 30,000 elephants are killed illegally each year for their tusks.

“These closures prove that China means business in closing down the ivory trade and helping the African elephant,” said Peter Knights, CEO of WildAid. “The price of ivory has dropped by two-thirds from previous highs, so it is now a very bad investment. We expect further drops as the full closure approaches at the end of the year.

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Thai Business Leaders Pledge to be Ivory Free with WildAid

Thai business leaders take WildAid's ivory free pledge

On Thai Elephant Day, WildAid united 15 prominent Thai business leaders with a pledge to never use elephant ivory or other wildlife products.

In a show of solidarity, the nation's top business leaders joined our call and urged stronger enforcement and more effective wildlife conservation action.

Thailand is a major destination market and trans-shipment hub to China and other markets for ivory products primarily from some of the roughly 33,000 elephants poached annually in Africa.

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