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Hong Kong Seizes 7.2 Tonnes of Elephant Ivory

06 July 2017 | International Fund for Animal Welfare Release

(Cape Town, South Africa) Hong Kong has made the biggest ivory bust in more than 30 years, seizing 7.2 tonnes of ivory tusks disguised in a container of frozen fish.

The seizure was made on Tuesday, 4th July, Hong Kong customs officials announced today, and three people have been arrested. The ivory tusks were found hidden beneath boxes of frozen fish in a shipping container from Malaysia.

“This seizure is tragic and represents violent and cruel deaths for possibly hundreds of elephants, all for their ivory tusks and all for an industry that should be in its death throes in the Hong Kong SAR of China,” said Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director China for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

“This demonstrates the ever more urgency for the Hong Kong government to shut down the ivory trade in the Special Administrative Region as soon as possible. With mainland China’s ivory markets being closed by the end of this year, Hong Kong’s ivory markets has become even more attractive for criminals to launder their ill-gotten gains,” Gabriel said.

In December China announced it would ban all trade in ivory on the mainland by the end of 2017. The Hong Kong government also pledged to shut down the island’s ivory markets, but not until 2021.

Gabriel praised the Hong Kong customs authorities for their work in intercepting the ivory and the arrests of suspects.

“Wildlife crime ranks among the most serious, dangerous and damaging of international crimes along with human trafficking, drug running and illegal arms sales with at least 20,000 elephants a year killed for their ivory. Kudos to the Hong Kong authorities for their determination to put an end to ivory trafficking –  the fact that so much ivory is being intercepted is an indication of how far out of control elephant poaching has become. Strong laws making ivory trade illegal in all circumstances combined with vigorous enforcement is the only way to deal a blow to these criminals,” said Gabriel.

About IFAW

Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit Photos are available at

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