by Lorraine Gabina – EM TV International, Port Moresby
Hong Kong is set to make laws which will ban the sale of elephant ivory in Hong Kong.
While the trade of tusks from the extinct mammoth is unregulated, Hong Kong aims to phase out the trade of elephant ivory altogether.
Hong Kong Chief Executive, Leung Chun-ying made this announcement yesterday.
According to WWF, authorities have seized 8 tonnes of smuggled ivory in 2013 alone, making Hong-Kong one of the largest ivory smuggling hubs in the world.
During the annual policy address yesterday, Hong Kong leader, Leung Chun-ying announced that his government will start actively tackling this issue
The Chinese territory has banned elephant ivory trade since 1990; however shops are allowed to sell ivory products acquired before the trade.
Making this announcement, Chun-ying said, “We’ll take steps to ban totally the sale of ivory in Hong Kong. It will be a total ban. As to the matter of timing, we’ll do it expeditiously, as quickly as we can, but this will, as you probably appreciate, require legislative amendments, and that will be a matter for the Legislative Council.”
Chun-ying added that the Hong-Kong government is very concerned about the illegal elephant poaching in Africa and despite not having a solid timetable; the government will kick start legislative procedures as soon as possible.
Conservation groups, WWF and Wild Aid both issued statements later during the day, welcoming Chun-ying’s announcement.