Hong Kong to burn one of Asia's major stockpiles of ivory
HONG KONG (REUTERS) - Hong Kong plans to destroy 95 per cent of one of Asia's major hoards of confiscated ivory, fulfilling a long-standing demand by conservation groups that battle trafficking in the contraband material.
The World Wildlife Fund ranks China as the world's biggest end-market for poached ivory and Hong Kong, as a free port on the country's southern coast, has long served as a key trans-shipment point for illegal tusks.
Twenty-eight of the 29.6 tonnes of ivory held by Hong Kong authorities is to be incinerated into a grey ash, said Mr Paul Shin, chairman of an advisory panel on endangered species that has authority over the territory's stockpile.
The incineration will begin this year and is expected to take one or two years to complete. The ivory is currently stored in four undisclosed government facilities under tight security, complete with closed-circuit television cameras and guards.