Hong Kong's Delay To Fully Implement Nationwide Ivory Trade Ban Results To Illegal Activities Across The Border

The delay of implementing the citywide ban is unintentionally allowing the "illegal trading and smuggling" to continue.
The delay of implementing the citywide ban is unintentionally allowing the "illegal trading and smuggling" to continue. (Photo: REUTERS/Baz Ratner)

Although lawmakers and activists celebrate the ban on the ivory trade market in China, new research reveals the delay to implement law encourages elephant poaching. There are also fears the business will operate across the border to Hong Kong as the citywide ban will still take effect in 2021.

According to the South China Morning Post, the delay of implementing the citywide ban is unintentionally allowing the "illegal trading and smuggling" to continue. As this happens, the researchers believe elephant poaching will still be persistent in Africa.

Beijing already implemented the nationwide ban on the ivory trade in 2017. However, it is not the case in Hong Kong. The illegal trade in the country would be gradually phased out, and it would not be fully operative until December 31, 2021.  

In an article from Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, it said there are concerns the illegal trade would be moved to Hong Kong after China ban the ivory trade at the end of 2017. Unfortunately, new records revealed this is already happening.

The researchers' unveiled compiled statistics that showed over seven tons of elephant ivory were confiscated from major shipments in Hong Kong last year. It was the largest amount the authorities took hold off in a year compared to less than a ton caught in 2016.

University of Hong Kong biologist and one of the report's authors Dr Luke Gibson admitted a year's worth of date might not confirm the "long-term trend," but the evidence proved the connection between the seized elephant ivory in China and Hong Kong

Gibson explained there was more ivory confiscated in China than in Hong Kong over the past two decades. Now there was more seized ivory in Hong Kong than in China. It just meant that the nationwide ban of ivory trade in China resulted in the illegal business to move to Hong Kong. It could probably happen as the criminal syndicates were known to move their shipments between the two countries.

To recall, the BBC reported Hong Kong lawmakers voted to ban the trade in ivory. The campaigners celebrated the move and even called it a "lifeline for elephants."

The ivory trade in Hong Kong has been continuing for 150 years. It is the world's largest ivory market. However, according to the conservation group WildAid Hong Kong, the country is only allowed to see the 670-tonne stockpile the British colony had as the global trade got banned in 1989.

But the campaigners revealed the traders use the legal trade to cover their illegal activities. So to put a stop into this, the traders have to dispose of all of their stocks by 2021.

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