Illegal ivory trading is increasing in New Zealand, a senior investigator says.
Jiezhen Jiang has become the first person to be convicted here for trading in ivory after being charged under the Trade in Endangered Species Act.
The 58-year-old was fined $12,000 when he appeared for sentence at the Manukau District Court today (Wed) after pleading guilty to eight charges of trading in endangered species without a permit.
The charges - brought by the Department of Conservation - carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and $100,000 fine.
Jiang was caught after Customs officers intercepted two parcels containing ivory at the international mail centre. They had been posted from Portugal and England.
Customs raided Jiang's Mellons Bay property in October 2011 and found six other items made from the tusks of endangered African elephants.
Between May 2010 and September 2011 Jiang was a prolific online trader, and bought 299 items including objects made of silver, bone china and ivory, worth around $180,000.
Jiang said he had sold two ivory items to people in China through a website because they "were not of artistic value". More....