Petition achieves victory! Hong Kong has made an unprecedented move to protect wildlife!

Last Wednesday the third reading of Organized and Serious Crimes (Amendment) Bill 2021 was passed. Wildlife crime offences will be added to Hong Kong’s Organized and Serious Crimes Ordinance (Cap. 455), providing appropriate powers to local law enforcement and providing a clear mandate to deter, detect, disrupt and dismantle criminal networks responsible for wildlife trafficking. 

The petition “Stop Wildlife Traffickers Using Our City” initiated by ADM Capital Foundation (ADMCF) has achieved victory! The petition successfully gathered over 5,000 signatures and gathered public support for the amendment, urging the government and lawmakers to treat wildlife crimes as serious and organised crimes – a lifeline for the endless species traded into the city.

Hong Kong has become a hub for the illegal wildlife trade. Local authorities seized 929 metric tonnes (MT) of rare and endangered wildlife across 1,680 seizures from 2018 to 2020.

Recent record-breaking seizures in Hong Kong include; 82kg rhino horn, equivalent to 31 black rhino or 14 white rhinos, and 8.3MT pangolin scales seized with 2.1MT ivory, equivalent to 13,800 pangolins and 200 elephants (2019). 

Despite their scale, there have been no known prosecutions relating to these record seizures, highlighting how critical the Bill is to Hong Kong’s enforcement authorities.

“The fight against wildlife crime is an immense challenge and by taking this bold move to amend its laws, Hong Kong is not only showing global leadership, but is signaling that we can no longer stand by and let wildlife traffickers continue to exploit our city, devastate wildlife populations and steal local natural resources that impact local communities and national economies worldwide” said Lisa Genasci, CEO of the ADM Capital Foundation.

“Hong Kong’s recent seizures continue a decade-long upward trend that has seen the decimation of multiple species including rhino, elephant and pangolin populations, globally, while the perpetrators go free” said Amanda Whitfort, Associate professor of Law at Hong Kong University. 

Learn more about the work of ADM Capital Foundation and their wildlife programme here