Hong Kong, SAR is a signatory to the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna, commonly referred to as CITES. This is an agreement between governments to regulate the wild plants, animals and their derived products to make sure that they are not over-exploited. Governments party to CITES co-operate with each other and monitor the flow of some 30000 endangered species across their borders.
CITES is basically a licensing system that controls the import, export and re-export of endangered species listed in the convention’s three appendices:
Species threatened with extinction. Trade is not permitted in these species, unless under truly exceptional circumstances.
Trade in these species is controlled as continued unregulated trade will compromise their survival.
These are species that a country that is party to CITES has asked the other countries to help regulate.
This system of permits enables endangered species to legally cross national borders and is aimed at controlling the trade in endangered species to prevent the over-utilization and eventual extinction of threatened species.
Furthermore, endangered species are protected by Hong Kong law under the Protection of Endangered Species Ordinance, Cap. 586.
It is illegal to import and trade in endangered species.
Offenders can be imprisoned for a period of 2 years and fined up to HK$5,000,000.
The AFCD has set up a dedicated hotline to report suspected trade of endangered species.
All calls are strictly confidential.
In addition, callers who provide information which result in a conviction are entitled to a reward.