5 Vt. J. Envtl. L. 1 (2003-2004)

handle is hein.journals/vermenl5 and id is 1 raw text is: VERMONT JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL LAW
Volume Five 2003-2004
Charu Sharma*
Stealing the world's natural resources takes a toll that cannot be measured in dollars. It
robs the country's natural heritage, disrupts the ecosystem, and shortchanges the future
generation. 1
Illegal trade in endangered species, their body parts, and derivatives2 amounts to a
staggering $10 billion annually. These profit margins are close to those in drugs and
arms trafficking.4 Such illegal trade is disturbing the ecological balance and posing a
challenge to law enforcement authorities all over the world. The trade in endangered
species has created immense problems for enforcement authorities in Hong Kong5
* B.Sc., L.L.B. (Delhi, India), L.L.M. (Delhi, India), Instructor I, School of Law, City Univ. of Hong Kong.
The author would like to express her gratitude to Professor D.K. Srivastava, School of Law, City Univ. of
Hong Kong. The author is also grateful to Ms. Phoebe Sze of the Endangered Species Protection Division
of the Agriculture and Fisheries Conservation Department (AFCD) for providing the citation to Hong Kong
Special Administrative Region v. Bharti Ashok Assomull, Case no. SKS 4957/98, South Kowloon
Magistracy, DOH 20, 21 & Jan. 28, 1999 and Feb. 25, 1999.
1 Sandra Cleva & Patricia Fischer, Probe ofInternational Reptile Trade Ends with Key Arrests, U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service News Release (Sept. 15, 1998), available at http://www.r6.fws.gov/pressrel/98-45.htm
(last visited Dec. 22, 2003) (commenting on arrests made by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (US-FWS)
under a five year undercover operation to hunt illegal traders in reptiles).
2 Endangered species are listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Species (CITES) as those species endangered due to over-exploitation through international trade. See
CITES, available at http://www.cites.org/eng/disc/text.html (last visited Apr. 14, 2004). Endangered
species include rare or threatened wildlife and plants which are in danger of extinction. The survival of
these species is unlikely if the causal factors like unregulated or over-exploitative international trade
practices continue to operate. Endangered species in this paper also refers to the trade in endangered
plants and animals body parts and their derivatives. See World Wildlife Fund-Hong Kong (WWF-HK),
Species Conservation, available at
http://www.wwf.org.hl/eng/conservation/spe-cons/endangered-species.html (last visited Dec 22, 2003).
3 See Kathleen E. Du Bois, The Illegal Trade in Endangered Species, 6 AFRICAN SECURITY REVIEW 1
(1997), available at http://www.iss.co.za/PUbs/ASR/6Nol /DuBois.html (last visited Dec. 22, 2003) 1;
other sources reveal that illegal trade in wildlife species amounts to a little over $5 8 billion annually in
United States dollars (USD); see e.g., Dianne E. Mahony, The Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna: Addressing Problems in Global Wildlife Enforcement, 13 NEw
ENG. INT'L & COMP. L. ANN. 1-18 (1997) (estimating illegal trade at $5 billion). See also WWF-Hong
Kong Fact Sheet No. 5, available at http://www.wwf.org.hk/eng/pdf/references/factsheets/factsheet5.PDF
(last visited Dec. 22, 2003) (calculating illegal trade figure at over USD $5 billion); Hunters Driving Asian
Species to Extinction, Environment News Service, available at http://ens-news.com/ens/apr2002/2002-04-
10-06.asp (last visited Dec. 22, 2003) (calculating illegal trade at USD $8 billion).
4 See Du Bois, supra note 3.
5 Martin Williams, Hong Kong's Wild Stars: Endangered Species among Hong Kong's diverse wildlife
show the city's conservationist side, WHERE HONG KONG, 20 22, (Dec. 2000). Listed species particularly
significant to Hong Kong are the Asian Pangolin, the musk deer, the Asian box turtle, sharks, pink

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