Breaking! Zhang Guozhu & Ding Wei From Mainland China Sentenced To Jail For Smuggling 100kg Of Pangolin Scales Into Hong Kong

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Yesterday, a Hong Kong court sentenced two mainland Chinese men to jail for trafficking 100kg of pangolin scales.

While the names of the smugglers were withheld from a statement on the Hong Kong government’s website, they were identified by the South China Morning Post (SCMP) as 47-year-old Zhang Guozhu, from Fujian province, and 21-year-old Ding Wei, from Zhejiang province.

Wei reportedly arrived in Hong Kong on July 17, 2019, from the Democratic Republic of Congo via Ethiopia and was about to return to Mainland China with Guozhu. An estimated 50 kilograms of pangolin scales were found in their respective baggage by Customs officers.

Subsequent to follow-up investigations, Wei and Guozhu were charged with the illegal import of listed species in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

In what SCMP is calling the “city’s harshest penalty yet for smuggling pangolin scales,” Wei was sentenced to 27 months in jail while Guozhu received 21 months.

All eight species of pangolin are listed in Appendix I of CITES and regulated under the Ordinance in Hong Kong. The penalties under the Ordinance have been amended and increased since May 1, 2018.

Any person importing, exporting or possessing endangered species not in accordance with the Ordinance will be liable to a maximum fine of $10 million and imprisonment for 10 years. The specimens will also be forfeited upon conviction.

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