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Thursday, January 28, 2016, 17:36

More sniffer dogs join illegal ivory crackdown

By Wang Yuke /

More sniffer dogs join illegal ivory crackdown
A sniffer dog receives training in Hong Kong. (Parker Zheng)

The government will be boosting the number of sniffer dogs to combat a rise in illegal smuggling in Hong Kong.

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) will increase the number of quarantine detector dogs to help customs keep a close eye on illegal importation and intensify crackdown on smugglers, Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing said Thursday.

Among the city’s newest public servants is a black Labrador, Zane, whose olfactory powers can permeate metal bottles while Rosie was able to single out ivory-ladened luggage out of several rows of mock training luggage.

Head of Intelligence Bureau of Customs and Excise Department, Vincent Sin, said they will keep their training methods up-to-date with smugglers’ new methods.

Illegal ivory has begun turning up in postal parcel, with two instances involving air passengers detected in 2014. 35 such packages were seized in 2015 with the aid of detector dogs.  That led to a total of 2,200 kg and 1,600 kg ivory seized in 2014 and 2015 respectively, Sin said.

"These dogs are reliable companions of customs officers," Acting Assistant Director of AFCD, Simon Chan said.

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