By Azania Post Reporter
A Trader in Hong Kong has been fined a relatively light penalty after found possessing illegal ivories, however activists want heavy fines for culprits.
Reports say the Court found an ivory trade guilty of illegal ivory possession and imposed a fine of $ 1,022 which is too small for him to pay instantly.
Activist have been calling government leaders to impose hefty fine, they also hailed China for its decision to implement a total ban on ivory trade.
China is the world’s largest importer and end user of elephant tusks. Wildlife activists called the ban, implemented at the end of 2017, a vital step toward reducing the slaughter of the endangered animals.
Hong Kong trader Lau Sai Yuan was fined HK$8,000 for illegal ivory possession after pleading guilty in Hong Kong’s Eastern Magistrates’ Court. Another trader, Huen Kwok Leung, pleaded not guilty and his trial was postponed to April.
The maximum penalty under current laws is two years in jail.
Hong Kong lawmakers are considering a significant increase in penalties, with a fine of up to HK$10 million and imprisonment of 10 years.
Hong Kong, a Chinese special administrative region of China, has lagged behind mainland China in the crackdown on illegal ivory trading and only set a timetable for a ban last year, with a phase-out time of five years.
The former British colony is a prime transit and consumption hub with more than 90 percent of consumers from mainland China. It has the largest retail market for ivory, which it has traded for more than 150 years.
Hong Kong adheres to regulations set by The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which started to regulate the international trade of ivory in the 1970s and has banned such trade since 1990.
WildAid, a wildlife non-government organization, estimates up to 30,000 elephants are killed illegally every year.