Thursday, June 25, 2020

Amanda Whitfort et al on Wildlife Forensic Science in Hong Kong (Wires Forensic Science)

"Wildlife forensic science in Hong Kong"
Published in June 2020
Abstract: In the past decade, Hong Kong has seen an increase in volume and diversity of endangered wildlife imported through its borders. Recent amendments to legislation concerning wildlife crimes in Hong Kong allow for increased sentencing and prosecution of the crimes. This calls for an increased forensic capacity to aid enforcement efforts. Wildlife forensic science in Hong Kong is generally performed ad hoc via a confidential tender‐application process. Additionally, minimal communication between forensic scientists, the prosecution and the judiciary on the use and production of wildlife forensic analyses has compounded the problem of wildlife crimes not being addressed as “serious” crimes. Improving communication and collaboration between relevant stakeholders, including the development of a wildlife forensic reference database, shared forensic practices, and shared information concerning expertise and analyses available within Hong Kong, would provide benefits to wildlife crime investigations. This article addresses some of these concerns in more detail and provides suggestions for improvements to the overall wildlife forensic capacity in Hong Kong. Increasing Hong Kong's capacity for wildlife forensic science will not only facilitate law enforcement efforts but also help to change Hong Kong's status as a regional hub for wildlife trade to one for excellence in wildlife crime deterrence.

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