Dear Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department,

Can you please provide a list of all the licensed ivory dealers in Hong Kong? Alongside this data can you also provide details on how much ivory each of these licensees is licensed to possess.

I'm also if you do any DNA testing on ivory stocks in HK. Do you or the Government Laboratory test non-elephant ivory (e.g. Mammoth and Hippo) to see if it is elephant?

Yours faithfully,

Scott Edmunds

漁農自然護理署

Dear Mr. Edmunds,

                I refer to your application for access to information
dated 28 November 2015 requesting for (1) a list of all the licensed ivory
dealers in Hong Kong and the details on how much ivory each of these
licensees is licensed to possess; and (2) any DNA testing done by this
Department or the Government Laboratory on ivory stocks in Hong Kong and
non-elephant ivory to see if it is elephant.

      Regarding the first part of the request on the list of licensed
ivory dealers, the information requested involves personal information and
third party information related to the business of the licensees. Such
information is collected for the purposes relating to the application for
Licences to Possess in this Department. Moreover, the Protection of
Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance under which the
application is submitted has no provision for the disclosure of personal
data collected through application for Licence to Possess.

                Your request for information has been considered
thoroughly according to the Code on Access to Information. Having taken
into account paragraphs 2.15 on privacy of the individual (see footnote 1)
and 2.14 (a) on third party information (see footnote 2) in Part 2 of the
Code on Access to Information, it is considered not appropriate to provide
such information requested as provision of the requested information would
involve disclosure of personal information and third party information.

       You may wish to know that this Department has recently enhanced the
transparency of the licensed ivory stock by publishing a list of
quantities of ivory stocks under Licences to Possess in our website (
[1]http://afcd.gov.hk/english/conservation/...
).

     Regarding the second part of the request about DNA testing, this
Department did not conduct DNA analysis for ivory of elephant, mammoth or
hippo for the purpose of species identification as the concerned ivories
have morphological characteristics that would allow a specimen in question
to be differentiated.

                If you are not satisfied with the above decision, you may
ask this Department to review the decision by writing to Director of
Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation at 5th Floor, Cheung Sha Wan
Government Offices, 303 Cheung Sha Wan Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong, quoting
the above reference. Alternatively, you may complain to The Ombudsman,
whose address is -

30/F, China Merchants Tower
Shun Tak Centre
168-200 Connaught Road Central
Hong Kong

Tel: 2629 0555
Fax: 2882 8149

Regards,
Azaria K.Y. WONG, Ph.D.
Endangered Species Protection Officer
Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department

Footnote:
    (1) Information about any person (including a deceased person) other
than to the subject of the information, or other appropriate person,
unless –
(a) such disclosure is consistent with the purposes for which the
information was collected, or (b) the subject of the information, or other
appropriate person, has given consent to its disclosure, or (c) disclosure
is authorised by law, or (d) the public interest in disclosure outweighs
any harm or prejudice that would result.

(2)  Information held for, or provided by, a third party under an explicit
or implicit understanding that it would not be further disclosed. However,
such information may be disclosed with the third party's consent, or if
the public interest in disclosure outweighs any harm or prejudice that
would result.

Freedom of Information request - Ivory licenses

[FOI #61 email] to: [Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department request email] 28.11.2015
03:45 PM

Show Details

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department,
Can you please provide a list of all the licensed ivory dealers in Hong
Kong? Alongside this data can you also provide details on how much ivory
each of these licensees is licensed to possess.
I'm also if you do any DNA testing on ivory stocks in HK. Do you or the
Government Laboratory test non-elephant ivory (e.g. Mammoth and Hippo) to
see if it is elephant?
Yours faithfully,
Scott Edmunds
-------------------------------------------------------------------
This is a request under the Code of Access to Information facilitated via
the accessinfo.hk website.
Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[FOI #61 email]
Is [Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department request email] the wrong address for Freedom of
Information requests to Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation
Department? If so, please contact us using this form:
[2]https://accessinfo.hk/en/change_request/...
Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
[3]https://accessinfo.hk/en/help/officers
If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.

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References

Visible links
1. http://afcd.gov.hk/english/conservation/...
2. https://accessinfo.hk/en/change_request/...
3. https://accessinfo.hk/en/help/officers

Dear Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department's handling of my FOI request 'Ivory licenses'.

As you'll see from the history below, I asked for lists of licensed ivory dealers and this was turned down because of the supposed need to protect 3rd part information. I disagree with this argument - as how is it different to the licensing provided into the public domain for restaurant licenses in Hong Kong for example. Or pesticide licensees as well. Using data in data.gov.hk it is possible to tell if restaurants have and lose their food licenses, so how does this differ in my request to know the addresses of licensed ivory shops, and how much material the government has assessed they have in stock? Walking along Hollywood road you can see much of this information on display, so why can we not have this information online? Why are these dealers treated different to any others that have to provide licensing information?

Regarding the lack of DNA testing, can I ask what are you basing morphological versus DNA testing of mammoth ivory? Has it been assessed how definitive this testing is?

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://accessinfo.hk/en/request/ivory_l...

Yours faithfully,

Scott Edmunds

漁農自然護理署

We acknowledge receipt of your e-mail.(This is generated by an auto-reply
program.)Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department. 本署已接獲您的
電郵,內容備悉。(以上為
電腦自動發出的訊息。) 漁農自然護理署

漁農自然護理署

Dear Scott EDMUNDS,

We received your application on 29 April 2016 seeking a review of our
handling your request for information relating to licensed ivory dealers.

Please be advised that a review is being conducted. Pursuant to paragraph
1.16 of the Code on Access to Information, you will be advised further on
or before 19 May 2016.

Yours sincerely,
Adrian TONG
for Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation

|------------>
| From: |
|------------>
>--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|Scott Edmunds <[FOI #61 email]> |
>--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|------------>
| To: |
|------------>
>--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|"FOI requests at Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department" <[Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department request email]> |
>--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|------------>
| Date: |
|------------>
>--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|29/04/2016 19:30 |
>--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|------------>
| Subject: |
|------------>
>--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|Internal review of Freedom of Information request - Ivory licenses |
>--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

Dear Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information
reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Agriculture, Fisheries and
Conservation Department's handling of my FOI request 'Ivory licenses'.

As you'll see from the history below, I asked for lists of licensed ivory
dealers and this was turned down because of the supposed need to protect
3rd part information. I disagree with this argument - as how is it
different to the licensing provided into the public domain for restaurant
licenses in Hong Kong for example. Or pesticide licensees as well. Using
data in data.gov.hk it is possible to tell if restaurants have and lose
their food licenses, so how does this differ in my request to know the
addresses of licensed ivory shops, and how much material the government has
assessed they have in stock? Walking along Hollywood road you can see much
of this information on display, so why can we not have this information
online? Why are these dealers treated different to any others that have to
provide licensing information?

Regarding the lack of DNA testing, can I ask what are you basing
morphological versus DNA testing of mammoth ivory? Has it been assessed how
definitive this testing is?

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the
Internet at this address: https://accessinfo.hk/en/request/ivory_l...

Yours faithfully,

Scott Edmunds

-------------------------------------------------------------------
Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[FOI #61 email]

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
https://accessinfo.hk/en/help/officers

If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

漁農自然護理署

1 Attachment

Dear Mr. Edmunds,

Thank you for your email dated 29 April 2016 requesting a review of our
decision not to disclose to you a list of all the licensed ivory dealers
under the Code on Access to Information (“the Code”).

As explained in our reply to you dated 3 December 2015, your request was
declined as the requested list of all licensed ivory dealers in Hong Kong
involved personal information and third party information, the purpose of
collection of which was related to the application for the concerned
Licences to Possess. The disclosure of the information would, therefore,
not be consistent with the purpose of the collection. Moreover, the
Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance (Cap. 586)
under which the application is submitted has no provision for the
disclosure of personal data collected through application for Licence to
Possess. Instead, we have provided you with information on ivory stock
under the Licences to Possess, which is published in our website at
http://afcd.gov.hk/english/conservation/...
.

We have carefully examined your subsequent email 29 April 2016 and
thoroughly re-considered your request in accordance with the Code. Having
taken into account paragraph 2.14(a) on third party information and
paragraph 2.15 on privacy of the individual in Part 2 of the Code (as
attached), we maintain our earlier view that it is not appropriate to
provide the requested information.

(See attached file: Guidelines on Interpretation and Application - para.
2.14 and 2.15.pdf)

You mentioned that one can see much of the information of licensed ivory
dealers on display when walking along the Hollywood road and wondered why
such information cannot be obtained online. In this respect, you may wish
to know that according to the licence conditions, a Licence to Possess or
the notice of the licence is required to be displayed in a conspicuous
position in the keeping premises (or a place specified by an authorised
officer). A member of the public may then know whether or not the premises
is a licensed premises holding ivory for commercial purposes and obtain the
information as shown on the licence or notice when he/she is at the
premises. Under the circumstances, the information contained in each of
these licences or notices can only be obtained at the concerned premises.
This situation is different from releasing a full list of licences where
the information of all these licences or notices could be released or
published. Besides, licensees may also keep their stocks and display their
licences at keeping premises in which a member of the public can visit only
by appointment and by escort. In such cases, the licence information would
only be available to the people who are granted access by the licensees.

We consider the above reasons for not releasing the information remain
valid and regret to inform you that your request could not be acceded to.

If you believe that this Department has failed to comply with any
provisions of the Code, you may complain to the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman’s
address is:

30/F, China Merchants Tower
Shun Tak Centre
168-200 Connaught Road Central
Hong Kong

Tel: 2629 0555
Fax: 2882 8149

Regarding the identification of mammoth ivory, it is done in this
Department through examination of its morphological characteristics.
According to the “Identification Guide for Ivory and Ivory Substitutes”
published by World Wide Fund for Nature in cooperation with the Secretariat
of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild
Fauna and Flora, cross-sections of elephant and mammoth ivory dentine
display uniquely characteristics cross-hatchings called Schreger lines.
The intersections of Schreger lines form angles. The outer Schreger lines
which are close to the cementum are acute in mammoth and obtuse in
elephant. We distinguish elephant ivory from mammoth ivory based on these
differential characteristics.

Yours sincerely,
SO Ping-man
for Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation

|------------>
| From: |
|------------>
>--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|Scott Edmunds <[FOI #61 email]> |
>--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|------------>
| To: |
|------------>
>--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|"FOI requests at Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department" <[Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department request email]> |
>--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|------------>
| Date: |
|------------>
>--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|29/04/2016 19:30 |
>--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|------------>
| Subject: |
|------------>
>--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|Internal review of Freedom of Information request - Ivory licenses |
>--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

Dear Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information
reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Agriculture, Fisheries and
Conservation Department's handling of my FOI request 'Ivory licenses'.

As you'll see from the history below, I asked for lists of licensed ivory
dealers and this was turned down because of the supposed need to protect
3rd part information. I disagree with this argument - as how is it
different to the licensing provided into the public domain for restaurant
licenses in Hong Kong for example. Or pesticide licensees as well. Using
data in data.gov.hk it is possible to tell if restaurants have and lose
their food licenses, so how does this differ in my request to know the
addresses of licensed ivory shops, and how much material the government has
assessed they have in stock? Walking along Hollywood road you can see much
of this information on display, so why can we not have this information
online? Why are these dealers treated different to any others that have to
provide licensing information?

Regarding the lack of DNA testing, can I ask what are you basing
morphological versus DNA testing of mammoth ivory? Has it been assessed how
definitive this testing is?

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the
Internet at this address: https://accessinfo.hk/en/request/ivory_l...

Yours faithfully,

Scott Edmunds

-------------------------------------------------------------------
Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[FOI #61 email]

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
https://accessinfo.hk/en/help/officers

If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.

-------------------------------------------------------------------