Hong Kong, Crossroads of the Criminal Wildlife Trade
Some ivory dealers readily admit that such sleight-of-hand took place, blaming unscrupulous buyers whilst casting themselves as collateral harm in the fight to comprise the unlawful natural world industry.
“Sly and dishonest businessmen, they make it difficult for us,” stated Leung Shun-cheung, who along 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 time in August, Mr. Leung was once crouched over a workbench in the store, sanding a couple of ivory chopsticks he had carved, whilst Ms. Leung taken care of thru 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 stated. “From time to time, the locals come here to buy a small piece.” She stated that during 3 years, when the home ban is going into impact, they meant to near their store, which their father opened prior to World War II.
Mr. Leung produced a sheaf of letters he had gained 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 was once 72 years previous, and had best ever labored in the ivory store.
“The government is asking me to retire at the age of 75,” he stated, 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 achieve.
Reporting was once contributed through Xiaomei Chen in Hong Kong.