Hong Kong man sentenced to 48 months in prison for pangolin scale smuggling

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File photo.

28th February 2024 – (Hong Kong) A 52-year-old man was handed a 48-month prison sentence by the District Court today following his conviction for conspiring to smuggle and illegally possess pangolin scales, a violation of the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance.

The case dates back to December 2018 when Hong Kong Customs officers conducted an inspection of an air consignment arriving from Malaysia at Hong Kong International Airport. During the inspection, approximately 240 kilograms of pangolin scales were discovered. Subsequently, in January 2019, a follow-up investigation led to the seizure of an additional 200 kilograms of pangolin scales. The individual implicated in the case was subsequently apprehended.

Customs officials have welcomed the court’s ruling, viewing the prison sentence as an effective deterrent that highlights the gravity of offenses related to endangered species. The illicit trade in pangolin scales poses a significant threat to the survival of these endangered animals, and law enforcement agencies are committed to combatting such wildlife trafficking.

The Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance stipulates severe penalties for individuals found guilty of importing, exporting, or possessing any endangered species without the necessary license. Offenders can face a maximum fine of HK$10 million (approximately $1.28 million) and up to 10 years of imprisonment.