Hong Kong Customs today (May 28) detected a sea-bound suspected cargo smuggling case and seized about 1 000 kilograms of pangolin scales from a container at the Kwai Chung Customhouse Cargo Examination Compound. The total value of the seizure was about $5 million. This is the largest seizure of pangolin scales in five years.

Customs officers, through risk assessment, selected a shipment arriving from South Africa, declared as “Plastic pet”, for inspection. Upon examination, Customs officers found the pangolin scales in 40 of the 510 bags of goods in the container.

As the pangolin scales were not declared on the manifest, they were seized by Customs officers for further investigation.

Under the Import and Export Ordinance, any person found guilty of importing unmanifested cargoes is liable to a maximum fine of $2 million and imprisonment for seven years.

Under the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance, any person found guilty of illegally importing a specimen of a scheduled species of Appendix II without a licence is liable to a maximum fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for six months.