Central

Matriarch Elephant

Carol & Rebecca

This mural was painted by artist duo Carol & Rebecca and depicts a matriarch elephant. Matriarchs are protectors of their herds and carry a vast amount of knowledge about their surroundings, including safe migratory routes, the availability of water in arid landscapes and threats from predators and poachers. The mural symbolises her leading her herd away from the threats of the ivory trade.

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Hong Kong: Stop Wildlife Traffickers Using Our City

City-wide street art coupled with Augmented Reality brings trafficked animals to life – in a campaign to stop wildlife traffickers using our city

wildlife crime

Thriving at the Expense of Global Biodiversity

In the midst of a global biodiversity crisis, Hong Kong authorities seized a record breaking 991 metric tonnes (MT) of rare and endangered wildlife across 2,113 seizures between 2017-2020. 

On August 18th Hong Kong’s lawmakers decisively voted in favour of a Members Bill to add wildlife crime offences to Hong Kong’ Organized and Serious Crimes Ordinance (OSCO).The Bill is a significant move in the fight against wildlife crime, not just for Hong Kong, but regionally and globally.

It means that instead of its historic focus on prosecuting the low-level ‘mules’ caught red handed carrying wildlife contraband, the government has provided its enforcement agencies access to enhanced powers to investigate, prosecute, confiscate proceeds and sentence the organized syndicates and ‘masterminds’ behind the crimes.

street art locations

Break the Chain is an initiative of the HK Wildlife Trade Working Group, ADMCF, A.L.A.N and with AR created by The Collective.

Hong Kong's role

We face a biodiversity crisis with an estimated 1 million species at risk of extinction

Our small city holds a disproportionate role in the global illicit wildlife trade. Wildlife seized in 2018 and 2019 surpassed all annual totals for the preceding decade (excluding 2015). Figures indicate a shift in trade dynamics with ivory in decline, pangolins remaining at devastatingly high levels and a worrying diversification of other endangered species.

While the scale of the challenge is immense, Hong Kong is uniquely situated to play an outsized role in detecting, deterring, disrupting and dismantling the syndicates operating in and through the city. It is vital that decisive and incisive action is taken to change our city from being a hub for the illegal wildlife trade to become a global leader in the fight against it. Otherwise, as scientists warn, we will continue to inflict irreversible damage on the world’s biodiversity, and suffer the impacts long into the future.

FAQS

2016 to present.

OSCO investigations of large scale ivory cases, wherein large sums of money or numerous parties have been involved in the trafficking, would provide investigators with a far more extensive array of tools and powers to delve into many more aspects of the operation than may be employed otherwise. In cases related to narcotics trafficking, law enforcement seize items including shipping documents, bank statements, computers, mobile phones, banking security authentication tokens, signed cheques and cash. They are permitted to seize and confiscate the proceeds of the crime.

Hong Kong has had an ordinance to address organised crime in the city since 1991. However, it did not specify wildlife crimes under its list of scheduled offences. Since the Amendment Bill of 2021, any crimes involving species regulated under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) may now be investigated with a more expansive array of powers.

There are 147 nations that are party to the United Nations Treaty on Organized Crime, the most widely adopted international instrument in effect to combat transnational organized crime. Signatories commit themselves to taking measures against transnational organized crime, including the creation of domestic criminal offences against participation in an organized criminal group, money laundering, corruption and obstruction of justice, among others. Whilst many nations have adopted such measures, enforcement remains a key barrier to clamping down on organised crime.

In relation to financial crimes, which are often committed in combination with wildlife crimes, a sentence of up to 10 years can be handed down. Importantly, OSCO now enables the appropriate authorities to apply a greater number of powers in their investigations as well as seizing the proceeds of the crime. These are vital to deterring organised criminals, as they have been motivated by the relatively low risk and high financial rewards of trafficking wildlife.

All species regulated under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES).

It came into effect on the 27th August 2021.

Departments under the Security Bureau, namely the Hong Kong Police Force and Customs & Excise, are charged with primary enforcement of OSCO. The Secretary for Justice may also authorise others. With the inclusion of wildlife crimes under Schedule 1 of OSCO, the Agriculture, Fisheries & Conservation Department (AFCD) may also be involved in OSCO cases.

It took numerous years to gather incontrovertible evidence on the state of Hong Kong’s illegal wildlife. Perhaps the most comprehensive and complete examination was published in 2018, in the report ‘Trading in Extinction: The Dark Side of Hong Kong’s Wildlife Trade’, detailing and quantifying the volume, value and more in relation to wildlife trafficking. We also ran a series of seminars, moots and engaged in direct discussions with Government officials to raise awareness of the scale and pervasiveness of wildlife trafficking in the city. They started to openly describe it as such during hearings convened by the LegCo Panel on Environmental Affairs in 2021. All departments invited to express their views at that time fully supported the OSCO Amendment Bill.

Wildlife Trafficking Hub

Fusing street art with Augmented Reality to bring trafficked species to the streets of Hong Kong

Wildlife crime poses an immense challenge to the international community. By taking the bold move to move wildlife trafficking offences under OSCO, Hong Kong is not only showing global leadership, but is signalling that we will no longer stand by and let wildlife traffickers exploit our city, devastate wildlife populations and steal natural resources that impact local communities and national economies worldwide.

who are we?

Break the Chain is an initiative of the HK Wildlife Trade Working Group, ADMCF and A.L.A.N.

ADM Capital Foundation

ADM Capital Foundation contributes to climate action and biodiversity protection through programmes tackling clean air, water, living oceans, protecting landscapes and wildlife trade. To maximise the effectiveness and impact of partner collaborations, effective communication across all media is critical to changing attitudes and enhancing understanding.

A.L.A.N

ARTISTS who LOVE ANIMALS & NATURE (ALAN) is a non-profit platform created to bring together artists who want to help raise awareness of animal conservation and environmental issues. Aiming to create talking points and drive social change, ALAN unites like-minded talent for artistic collaboration in pursuit of a common goal.

Supporting Organisations

Find the walls

From Central to Tuen Mun, explore our map to find all of our walls so far

Milestones

MEDIA COVERAGE

For an overview of the campaign, watch this video, courtesy of SCMP

Play Video

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