Editor's Note June 2019

Some of the earth’s valuable wildlife resources have already vanished and there are many other species that are not far from extinction. Numerous wild animals are slaughtered for commercial values such as inter alia to produce jewellery, leather goods or traditional medicine. Some suffer prolonged and painful deaths as they are severely injured through different forms of cruelty. One would think that in this day and age, with all the knowledge and technology available that the situation would have improved already. In January 2019 however, Hong Kong customs officers seized more than HK$62 million worth of ivory tusks and pangolin scales, the jurisdiction’s largest seizure ever of the latter in terms of value and weight. Accordingly, the Wildlife Law feature analyses criminal sanctions in Hong Kong for wildlife trafficking.

Also noteworthy is the Human Rights Law feature which discusses the need for a change in the legislation to combat modern slavery such as forced labour and forced marriage. Even removal of organs needs to be tackled as Hong Kong unlike some jurisdictions, does not have an opt-out donor scheme (where every person is an organ donor by default unless they opt out). Furthermore, we have approximately six donations per million people and close to 3,000 patients (as of 2017) waiting for organ donations. Patients who are in desperate need of an organ might not be too concerned with where it is coming from.

Next, extreme weather conditions are frequently occurring globally, and is just one of the consequences of global warming. As temperatures are rising (for example Hong Kong saw its hottest second and third day of the Lunar New Year since more than a century), glaciers globally are melting thereby causing sea levels to escalate at an accelerating rate. Greenhouse gas emissions created by us contribute to global warming, which isn’t fake news. Various construction and development projects are regularly carried out in Hong Kong, some of which might create a negative impact on our environment. The Environmental Law feature sheds light on how the relevant legislation in Hong Kong has aged.

On a separate note, when visiting legal conferences, packing business cards to take to a conference would be the logical thing to do. However, there is much more that can be done than merely exchanging name cards in order to make the most out a legal conference. The Practice Skills section provides some helpful tips.

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Lead Legal Editor, Hong Kong Lawyer