The Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Secretary for Security and Secretary for the Environment,
As members of the Hong Kong public, we call upon the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government to destroy its entire stockpile of confiscated ivory, as a symbolic gesture to highlight the plight of elephants that are being killed by the tens of thousands to supply the ivory trade.
As a gateway to mainland China which has the largest illegal ivory market in the world, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is being used by criminal syndicates as a transit point to smuggle elephant ivory and other wildlife contraband.
According to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government the stockpile of forfeited elephant ivory has accumulated 12 tonnes from 2010 to 2013. The historic total going back many years could be up to 26 tonnes. That is equivalent to between 1,300 and 2,858 elephants killed for their tusks.
Much like drugs or seized counterfeit goods, confiscated ivory and other wildlife contraband should not have any commercial value and cannot be put back into the market. Destruction of seized ivory is in accordance to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), to which China is a signatory member. To demonstrate the political will to combat elephant poaching, and the trafficking of ivory to demand regions, many countries such as Kenya, Gabon, and Philippines have publicly destroyed their confiscated ivory stockpiles. The United States of America also plans to destroy six tons of ivory it seized from illegal trade.
Destruction of confiscated elephant ivory in Hong Kong, post investigation and not withstanding donating a few pieces of ivory tusks for education purposes, will send a strong signal to Chinese consumers everywhere that buying ivory is immoral and wrong.
It would also send an unequivocal message to the poachers in Africa that their actions will not be tolerated by governments in East Asia, and the people they represent. We, therefore, call on the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government to do the responsible and ethical thing, transparently and publicly destroy its entire stockpile of confiscated ivory through crushing or incineration in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.