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Public reminded not to bring in endangered species

    The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department today (December 21) reminded people returning from visits to other places not to bring endangered species into Hong Kong without a licence.

     Under the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance, the import, export, re-export or possession of endangered animals and plants, including their parts and derivatives, requires a licence which must be obtained in advance from the department. The control applies to tourist items as well.

     "A total of 136 seizures were made at customs checkpoints from January to November this year. Of these seizures, 51 concerned orchids brought from the Mainland without a licence, against 102 cases for the same period last year," a department spokesman said.

     As for artificially propagated orchids, a valid export permit issued by the exporting country is required prior to import or export.

     The spokesman urged travellers to pay more attention when buying wildlife products for souvenirs abroad, such as ivory, live huamei, stony corals, cacti and pitcher plants. As some plant and animal species are facing the threat of extinction, import and export of such species are regulated under an international convention.

     "Since it is not easy to know which wildlife souvenirs are made of endangered species, people are advised not to purchase such items when in doubt," he said.

     Any person found guilty of importing, exporting, re-exporting or possessing any endangered species without a licence issued by the department is liable to a maximum fine of $5 million, imprisonment for two years and mandatory forfeiture of the specimens upon conviction, the spokesman said.

     For details, please call the Government hotline on 1823 or visit the related website on

Ends/Thursday, December 21, 2006
Issued at HKT 17:25