C.Y. Leung helping elephants and himself with ivory trade crackdown

C.Y. Leung helping elephants and himself with ivory trade crackdown

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Marchers call on the Hong Kong government to ban the notorious trade.
Photo: Jonathan Wong/SCMP

Hong Kong's move to phase out the ivory trade is widely welcomed by citizens and campaigning groups. It is hoped the historic act will put a damper on rampant elephant poaching across Africa.

Ivory trading has been the subject of several campaigns by NGOs such as WildAid Hong Kong, which are ecstatic over the move, and hope that the government will commit to the phasing out of what is considered a barbaric practice.

Hong Kong is a hub for many things: food, finance, shopping, tourism and culture. It is also no secret that many other improper dealings take place, such as the ivory trade. It was outlawed after 1989 in many countries, with a few rare exceptions. It's about time Hong Kong joined the rest of the world in implementing this key move.

WildAid and other activists have said new laws need to be implemented as soon as possible. They should include cracking down on parallel traders, discouraging ivory use in medicine, and improving scanning technology and background checks at our airport.

The move showcases the administration's concern for ethical and sustainable living. But it could also be a chance for Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's administration to be seen in a better light.

Leung is determined to crack down on the ivory trade in Hong Kong. If he stays committed, and bans the trade, this could improve public opinion of him, despite the heavy criticism of many of his other actions.

So while the news is a victory for elephants and likely a loss for poachers, it could also be an attempt to improve Leung's public image. But at a time when Hong Kong politics have never been more unstable, a stand on animal rights is a refreshing policy.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Kudos to C.Y. for ivory trade ban

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