Hong Kong customs busted a huge endangered species smuggling, involving the largest amount of pangolin scales ever seized by the customs.
The customs on Jan. 16 mounted a joint operation with the Chinese mainland customs to combat cross-boundary endangered species smuggling activities. During the operation, the Hong Kong customs seized about 8,300 kg of pangolin scales from a container at the Kwai Chung customhouse cargo examination compound, officials said on Friday.
In the same container, 2,100 kg of ivory tusks was also seized, the third largest amount ever found over the past 10 years, said Yeung Ka-Yan, head of Ports and Maritime Command at Hong Kong's Customs and Excise Department.
The shipment came from Nigeria and was bound for Vietnam. The smuggled pangolin scales and ivory tusks were hidden under frozen beef in a refrigerated container.
In recent years, Hong Kong has been stepping up efforts to fight smuggling of endangered species.
In 2018, 745 cases were detected involving smuggling of endangered species, representing a rise of 72 percent from 2017, official data showed. Among them, 54 cases involve smuggling of pangolin scales, 170 percent higher than such cases registered in 2017.