Hong Kong customs seizes nearly two tonnes of dried shark fins from Indonesian shipping container

Clifford Lo
·2-min read

Nearly two tonnes of dried shark fins believed to be from protected species worth an estimated HK$1.45 million (US$187,000) was found hidden in a shipping container arriving in Hong Kong from Indonesia on Monday.

Customs and Excise Department officials said the 1.9-tonne haul was discovered when the container was opened for inspection at the Kwai Chung Customhouse Cargo Examination Compound.

“The batch of suspected scheduled shark fins was mixed with non-scheduled shark fins inside the container,” the department said. The case has been handed over to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.

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Under the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance, import and export of an endangered species or its parts without a licence carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail and a HK$10 million (US$1.3 million) fine.

In May, customs officers confiscated 26 tonnes of endangered shark fins worth HK$8.6 million found in two containers from Ecuador. The haul was more than double the amount officers had seized in the whole of 2019 and the largest-ever seizure of its kind in Hong Kong. The previous record of 3.8 tonnes of controlled shark fins was made last year.

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The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department estimated the 26 tonnes of fins had been removed from about 31,000 thresher sharks and 7,500 silky sharks.

Last year, 12 tonnes of banned shark fins were seized, with 13 people arrested. That marked a substantial jump from 2018, when customs officers seized 641kg of shark fins worth HK$510,000 and made five arrests.

A customs spokesman appealed to the public to report any suspected smuggling activity on its 24-hour hotline, 2545 6182, or email: crimereport@customs.gov.hk.

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