Two men from Camberwell have been sentenced for illegally exporting carved ivory fans without the required permits.
Guy Buckle, and Sik-Huang Or, from Champion Hill, were both sentenced this week (Monday, September 23) to 28 months in prison at Inner London Crown Court.
Both had pleaded guilty to three counts of illegally exporting ivory goods, contrary to the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979.
This act makes it a requirement to have a re-export permit for antique carved ivory items. It is illegal to sell modern ivory.
Although the fans the pair sold abroad were legally purchased in the UK, they had been unlawfully sent to buyers in China, Hong Kong and the USA without the necessary permit issued by the Animal and Plant Health Agency.
The court heard the Met’s Wildlife Crime Unit launched an investigation after two parcels, destined for China, were seized at Heathrow by UK Border Force officials.
Investigating officers discovered 136 carved fans had been exported outside the EU between January 2014 and November 2017 with a sales totalling £145,259.
A search warrant on March 1, 2018, uncovered 291 carved ivory fans, all from protected and endangered species, and four pieces of unworked elephant ivory.
Both were charged on May 5 of this year.
Detective Constable Sarah Bailey, who led the investigation, said: “There are legal requirements in relation to the sale of specimens derived from protected/ endangered species and these requirements had not been met in this case.
“I hope today’s sentencing highlights that this type of activity is illegal and acts as a deterrent to those involved in the illegal sale and export of such items.”
Last year the government announced landmark plans to ban all ivory sales, bar very tight restrictions.
Then-environment secretary, Michael Gove, had described it as “one of the world’s toughest bans in ivory sales”, saying: “Ivory should never be seen as a commodity for financial gain or a status symbol.”
The new law is expected to come into effect toward the end of this year.