9 Tons of Pangolin Scales Are Seized in Hong Kong
“The pangolin runs the risk of becoming extinct before most people have even heard of them,” Prince William said in an anti-poaching video in 2014.
When confronted by predators, the pangolin curls into a ball. Hunters are said to use machetes to kill them.
Officials said the 39-year-old owner of a Hong Kong trading company and his 29-year-old employee had been arrested in connection with the seizure. Under Hong Kong law, smuggling illegal wildlife products is punishable by up to ten years in prison and fines of up to $1.3 million.
“Customs have done a great job,” said Alex Hofford, a wildlife campaigner for WildAid. “However, we want the Hong Kong government to take a step further. At the moment, they’re just catching the mules, the people who collect the containers — not the people at the top of the pyramid.” He urged the authorities to let investigators follow large consignments to their destinations and track the smugglers’ finances.
Hong Kong has long been a port of entry for illegal wildlife products, including elephant tusks and rhino horns. Lawmakers voted last year to ban all ivory sales by 2021, bowing to pressure from environmental activists.
Last year, Hong Kong confiscated almost twice as many pangolin scales, by volume, as it had in 2017.