HomeNewsBriefHong Kong Seizes Record Shipment of Honduran Wood
BRIEF

Hong Kong Seizes Record Shipment of Honduran Wood

ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME / 18 DEC 2014 BY KYRA GURNEY EN

Authorities in Hong Kong have seized rosewood from Honduras in what is reportedly the largest seizure of protected wood in the last ten years, highlighting how the demand for wood in Asia is driving illegal timber trafficking in Central America.

Customs officials in Hong Kong have announced the seizure of 92 tons of rosewood -- some of which came from Honduras -- in what the Hong Kong Department of Customs has identified as the largest contraband case involving a species of protected wood in the last decade, reported El Heraldo.

The shipment, which was seized on December 10, originated in Mexico, but was falsely declared as scrap rubber from Guatemala, reported Prensa Libre. Two individuals in Hong Kong were arrested in connection to the case.

Honduran rosewood is included among the protected species named in the multilateral conservation treaty known as the CITES, meaning that international trade in this type of wood has to be approved through a licensing system. It is prized by instrument makers and is also used to manufacture cabinets.

InSight Crime Analysis

As this case indicates, demand for wood in China is fueling illegal timber trafficking in Central America. In addition to Honduran rosewood, traffickers are also transporting large amounts of granadillo wood -- which is often harvested in forest reserves -- from Nicaragua to China.

Like other types of contraband trade -- including drugs -- wood trafficking relies on criminal networks to transport shipments and bribe customs officials. Earlier this year, the head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime's (UNODC) Global Program for Combating Wildlife and Forest Crime told InSight Crime that the networks involved in eco-trafficking are often involved in drug trafficking and other illegal activities as well. In addition, drug traffickers are driving deforestation in Central America by clearing forests so they can launder money through logging and cattle ranching.

SEE ALSO: Honduras News and Profiles

Elsewhere in the region, Colombia, Peru, and Brazil have been hard hit by the illegal timber trade. According to the World Bank, 42 percent of Colombia's logging industry was illegal as of 2006, while a 2012 report estimated that 80 percent of Peru's wood exports are contraband. In Brazil, the enormous scale of illegal logging -- which accounts for an estimated 80 percent of the logging industry -- has prompted authorities to deploy troops in the jungle and use drones to survey deforested areas.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME / 22 APR 2014

The high price of an exotic wood has spurred a rash of timber theft in the forests of Panama, threatening…

BARRIO 18 / 21 MAR 2012

The government says a wave of violence in northern Honduras that left at least 11 people dead within 48 hours…

CACHIROS / 9 MAR 2017

Government contracts awarded to businesses run by a powerful drug clan during the administration of former Honduras President Porfirio Lobo, allegedly…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.