Environment Canada investigation into illegal importation of 30,000 pieces of African elephant ivory leads to prosecution

    RICHMOND, BC, Oct. 12 /CNW Telbec/ - Yuk Ming (Peter) Ho of Richmond,
British Columbia received a $9,000.00 fine yesterday after pleading guilty in
Richmond Provincial Court to illegally importing over 30,000 pieces of African
elephant ivory. Mr. Ho was also ordered to pay a further $9,000.00 to TRAFFIC,
(a division of the World Wildlife Fund,) to support programs for the
conservation of the African elephant, and to forfeit all of the ivory seized
during the investigation which wildlife officers have estimated to be worth
over $100,000.00 at the retail level.
    The penalty reflected the level of endangerment of the species involved
as well as the commercial nature of the amount involved in the case. This is
the largest Canadian ivory case investigated by Environment Canada's Wildlife
Enforcement Division in recent years.
    The items seized by Environment Canada included various carvings, jewelry
and other crafts which were all derived from African elephant.
    Environment Canada's investigation established that while Mr. Ho was in
Hong Kong in February, 2005 he sent himself the parcel in question using a
false name and Hong Kong address. The small carvings were initially detected
by Canada Border Services Agency Officers at the International Mail Centre in
Vancouver, who then referred the items to Environment Canada for
identification and investigation. The investigation was greatly assisted by
the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation in Hong Kong, who
worked in tandem with Environment Canada to verify information regarding the
export of the ivory involved in this case.
    Endangered species of animals and plants, including African elephant, are
listed under the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of
Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). African elephant and their parts are therefore
protected under Canada's Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of
International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA) and its regulations.

    Environment Canada is the lead agency responsible for implementing CITES
on behalf of the Government of Canada. CITES sets controls, through a permit
system, on the international trade and movement of animal and plant species
that are endangered, or have been, or may be, threatened due to excessive
commercial exploitation.

    (Egalement offert en français)

For further information:

For further information: Micheline Brodeur, Senior Communications
Advisor, (604) 713-9539; Marko Goluza, Federal Wildlife Officer, Wildlife
Enforcement Division, (604) 666-9082, (604) 209-5815 (cell)

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