A shop at Kowloon’s Peninsula Hotel has removed ivory from its shelves in light of a potential city-wide ban and pressure from a conservation NGO.
The shop, Oriental Arts Jewelry Ltd, has a legal Licence to Possess from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, meaning it is allowed to conduct ivory trade. However, Annie Chor, a staff member at the store, told HKFP that it decided to stop selling ivory as it wanted to follow the stance of the hotel and Hong Kong society.
“[The hotel] knows it is legal for us to sell, but they don’t want us to, and even we don’t want to,” she said.
Conservation group WildAid HK, which urged Peninsula to stop its stores from selling ivory, was pleased with the decision.
Alex Hofford, wildlife campaigner for the NGO, said: “We commend the Peninsula Hotel for taking swift and decisive action to ban elephant ivory sales from their first floor shopping arcade. The African poaching crisis continues unabated, with around 96 elephants being illegally slaughtered each day for their tusks.”
“We also urge other five star hotels in Hong Kong to quickly follow the Peninsula Hotel’s example by banning ivory sales,” he added.
Chor said that the shop will keep current stocks in its inventory “because ivory cannot be exported.” She added that the stock was old and that some of it will be kept as works of art instead.
In a separate case, Hong Kong Customs seized 10 kilograms of suspected ivory at the Hong Kong International Airport on Monday. The ivory is worth about HK$100,000. A 32- year-old male arriving from Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire via Dubai, United Arab Emirates was arrested.
The case was handed over to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department for follow-up. If found guilty of illegally importing ivory, the man faces a maximum fine of up to HK$5 million and imprisonment for up to two years.
Chief Executive Leung Chun-Ying called for a ban on ivory sales in Hong Kong in his policy address in January. However, it is unclear when the ban may begin.