23rd May 2023 – (Hong Kong) Hong Kong Customs announced on 22nd May that it has seized a total of about 192kg of suspected scheduled red sandalwood, with an estimated market value of about HK$1 million, at Hong Kong International Airport and in Sheung Shui. One man has been arrested in connection with the case.
Customs officers conducted a risk assessment and inspected an air consignment, declared as carrying decorative products, arriving in Hong Kong from Dubai on May 16. Upon inspection, Customs officers found a total of about 120kg of suspected scheduled red sandalwood concealed inside five carton boxes.
Following a follow-up investigation, Customs officers searched a warehouse in Sheung Shui on May 22 and seized a batch of wooden blocks and beads made of suspected scheduled red sandalwood, totaling about 72kg. A 50-year-old man suspected to be connected with the case was arrested.
The estimated market value of the seized red sandalwood is about $1 million. An investigation is ongoing, and the arrested man has been released on bail pending further investigation. The likelihood of further arrests is not ruled out.
Under the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance, any person found guilty of importing or exporting an endangered species without a license is liable to a maximum fine of $10 million and imprisonment for 10 years.
Hong Kong Customs has been stepping up its efforts tocombat illegal wildlife trade and smuggling activities. The agency has been conducting frequent inspections and risk assessments to prevent the illegal import and export of endangered species and their products.
Members of the public are encouraged to report any suspected smuggling activities to Customs’ 24-hour hotline 2545 6182 or its dedicated crime-reporting email account, [email protected].