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Nearly 10 tonnes of protected wood in container seized by HK Customs

HONG Kong's Customs and Excise Department seized nearly 10 tonnes of rare, protected wood with an estimated value of HKD6 million (US$774,000) found hidden in a shipping container on its way from the Middle East to mainland China via Hong Kong

19 October 2020 - 19:00

HONG Kong's Customs and Excise Department seized nearly 10 tonnes of rare, protected wood with an estimated value of HKD6 million (US$774,000) found hidden in a shipping container on its way from the Middle East to mainland China via Hong Kong.

The 9.7 tonnes of suspected red sandalwood, which had been declared to be normal timber, was the biggest seizure of its kind this year and the third major seizure of the wood in the past six months.



The department said: 'Through risk assessment, customs officers selected and inspected a transshipment container arriving from the United Arab Emirates and destined for the mainland of China via Hong Kong.'



When the container was opened for inspection, officers found the batch of suspected red sandalwood inside. Red sandalwood, known as 'red gold' due to its high value, is often used for making luxury furniture and carvings.



It is listed as endangered under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. In Hong Kong, importing or exporting endangered wood without a permit carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail and a HKD10 million fine.



No arrests were mades, according to the South China Morning Post.


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