A mainland Chinese man has been sentenced to 20 months in jail for smuggling 48kg of pangolin scales into Hong Kong, in what is believed to be city’s first case since the scaly mammal was upgraded to the highest global level of animal protection.
Lin Jin-bao, 44, from Fujian province, was found guilty on Monday of trafficking the scales, said to be worth HK$189,000 (US$24,089), which were found wrapped in aluminium foil in his luggage.
In November, the critically endangered pangolin was lifted from Appendix II to Appendix I in local protection legislation, in accordance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
The maximum penalty for illegally importing an Appendix I species is a fine of HK$10 million and 10 years in jail. This case is believed to be the first conviction under the new legal guidelines.