Ontario businessman guilty of smuggling elephant ivory

Newmarket, Ontario – Illegal trafficking of wildlife is not acceptable in Canada. Unlawfully exploiting species for profit will not be tolerated.


On November 14, 2016, Ontario corporation 3062424, operating as 888 Auctions, and its director, Mr. Dong Heon Kim, pleaded guilty to unlawfully exporting a leather product made from python skin and two pieces of elephant ivory, in contravention of the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA). A combined fine totalling $12,500 was levied, and both the company and its owner were each sentenced to two years of probation.

Acting on intelligence, Environment and Climate Change Canada’s (ECCC’s) Enforcement Branch and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS’s) Office of Law Enforcement began an investigation into the activities of 888 Auctions, in December 2013.

The joint investigation revealed that, on one occasion, 888 Auctions placed a small elephant-ivory tusk, later determined through scientific testing to be from an elephant killed in 2001, along with an ivory carving into a parcel falsely labeled as a “gift ornament”. The package was mailed to a buyer in the United States, with no return address. These efforts to avoid detection were unsuccessful as the package was intercepted by USFWS special agents. Both pieces of ivory were determined to be from the African Forest Elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis).

On a separate occasion, 888 Auctions unlawfully exported to the United States a leather case made from python skin, in February 2015.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is implemented in Canada through WAPPRIITA. Both the ivory export and the python-case export were made without the necessary Canadian CITES export permits.

Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change