independent: Hong Kong votes to ban ivory sales one month after China embargo comes into force

 

 

Hong Kong has voted to ban the trade of ivory in a landmark decision after years of campaigning.

 

Politicians voted in favour of amending an existing law to outlaw sales of ivory in the Chinese territory by 2021.

 

The proposal also includes significantly stiffer penalties for the smuggling of ivory and other highly endangered species to deter black market sales.

 

Researchers say Hong Kong is the world’s largest ivory market.

 

Under the new law, the maximum sentence will increase to a HK$10m (£920,000) fine, which is double the current amount, and 10 years in prison, up from the current two years. 

 

Wildlife activists celebrated the move, even though Hong Kong has moved more slowly than Beijing.

 

Mainland China, the biggest source of ivory demand, banned sales at the start of the year after shutting all carving factories and shops last March.

 

The ban will have a "chilling effect on the global demand for ivory," Iris Ho, a spokesperson for Humane Society International, told The Independent.

 

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2018

Forest Watch - April 2018