|The suspect’s hand baggage was seized alongside about HK50,000 worth of ivory products. Credits: SCMP Picture|
A 42-year-old traveller from Nigeria was arrested at Hong Kong International Airport with 15kg of suspected ivory products stashed inside the pockets of a tailor-made vest. He arrived in the city from Abuja, Nigeria, via Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, on Monday [Aug. 24] morning.
"During customs clearance, customs officers found about 15kg of suspected ivory pieces and products concealed in a tailor-made vest inside his hand baggage," the Customs and Excise Department said.
The haul was estimated to be worth HK$150,000 in Hong Kong and the man may face prosecution for importing an endangered species, the department said. Officers handed the case to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department for further investigation. The conservation department oversees ivory matters in the city.
|The tailor-made vest that concealed 15kg of cut pieces and products believed to be made of ivory. Credits: SCMP Picture|
It was the third seizure by customs officers at the airport in a month. On August 7, an 18-year-old man arriving from Harare, Zimbabwe, was arrested with 15kg of ivory products.
On July 27, officers caught a 27-year-old man who had arrived from Lagos, Nigeria, and seized HK$150,000 worth of ivory tusks and ivory products. He was convicted of importing an endangered species and fined HK$62,000.
A state-run newspaper reported in April that a syndicate behind ivory smuggling provided a "baby rental" service as a cover to help its smugglers receive less scrutiny while crossing into the mainland from Hong Kong. The tactic was revealed after a Hong Kong woman was arrested at a checkpoint as she tried to smuggle 24 ivory products into Shenzhen. She was carrying her own baby when arrested.