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Hong Kong, Crossroads of the Criminal Wildlife Trade

Some ivory dealers readily admit that such sleight-of-hand passed off, blaming unscrupulous investors whilst casting themselves as collateral harm in the fight to include the unlawful flora and fauna business.

“Sly and dishonest businessmen, they make it difficult for us,” mentioned Leung Shun-cheung, who together with his sister, Leung Yun-tim, runs the Hang Cheong Ivory Factory, a small store on Queen’s Road. “They use the smuggled ivory to fill the space in their quota for legal ivory. That’s how they did it. But we are innocent.”

On an early night in August, Mr. Leung used to be crouched over a workbench in the store, sanding a couple of ivory chopsticks he had carved, whilst Ms. Leung taken care of via expenses at a close-by table. The naked fluorescent mild bulbs illuminated dusty glass cabinets packed complete of ivory carvings, however no consumers.

“Because of the ban, we don’t have much business,” Ms. Leung mentioned. “From time to time, the locals come here to buy a small piece.” She mentioned that during 3 years, when the home ban is going into impact, they supposed to near their store, which their father opened sooner than World War II.

Mr. Leung produced a sheaf of letters he had won from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, advising him of the 2021 closing date and providing to sign up him in coaching for a brand new profession. He used to be 72 years outdated, and had simplest ever labored in the ivory store.

“The government is asking me to retire at the age of 75,” he mentioned, guffawing grimly. “They’re very concerned about me.”

He settled the chopsticks in a show case: two narrow increments of provide looking forward to a requirement that remained huge, however for the second, out of succeed in.

Reporting used to be contributed through Xiaomei Chen in Hong Kong.

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