Hong Kong Government Press Release
1st February 2023 – (Hong Kong) A man who smuggled 62 eggs and hatchlings of endangered parrot species was convicted at the District Court for violating the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance (Cap. 586), and sentenced to imprisonment today.
A spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said that the local man who flew to Hong Kong on 8th November, 2020 from Johannesburg, South Africa, was intercepted at the arrivals hall of the Hong Kong International Airport. A white metal case was found in his backpack, in which a total of 62 bird eggs and hatchlings were found. The bird eggs and hatchlings were seized for suspected contravention of the Ordinance for further investigation.
Subsequent to AFCD’s follow-up investigations, the bird eggs and hatchlings were confirmed to be of parrot species listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The man was subsequently charged with illegal import of specimens of Appendix II species scheduled to the Ordinance and was convicted at the District Court. With 24 months’ imprisonment as the starting point for sentencing, the defendant was sentenced to 16 months behind bars today after reduction for his guilty plea.
Parrot populations have been decimated by illegal trade which incentivises poaching in the wild worldwide. With the exception of four species, all parrots have been listed on the CITES Appendices since 1981 and regulated under the Ordinance in Hong Kong. Any person importing, exporting or possessing specimens of endangered species not in accordance with the Ordinance commits an offence and will be liable to a maximum fine of $10 million and imprisonment for 10 years upon conviction with the specimens forfeited.