An Animal Farm of Horror

Following complaints of animal yowling and missing dogs, an illegal poaching ground was discovered in Tseung Kwan O.

A poaching ground was discovered on the hill of Po Lam in Tseung Kwan O following complaints of frequent yowling in the middle of the night and missing dogs that ran onto the hill.

Not only was a dog discovered and rescued after getting caught in a trap, severely injuring its limb, but the ground was also laid with numerous other animal traps of different types and sizes. Even more disturbing is the discovery of an elaborate setting for outdoor cooking on the same ground and the skull of an animal suspected to be a wild boar.

On the face of it, this poaching ground is highly illegal in several aspects:

It would be illegal to slaughter dogs for food. While at present, it is unclear whether this has happened. But even if there is insufficient evidence to that effect, other offences may still have occurred.

Under the Wild Animals Protection Ordinance (Cap 170), unless with a permit, hunting animals using traps is prohibited. Possessing or setting up such traps is also outlawed.

It is also illegal under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance (Cap 169) to cause unnecessary suffering to any animals, which in this case may include causing suffering from severe injuries and pain and the deprivation of water or food.

In Secretary for Justice v Fung Chi Hoi [2019] 4 HKLRD 188, the Court of Appeal discussed the rising trend of animal cruelty and legislative intent reflected in the increased maximum sentence in 2006 from six months imprisonment and $5,000 to three years and $200,000. The Court of Appeal confirmed that a deterrent sentence is warranted for such an offence of evil nature and set out the aggravating factors in sentencing.

“Four legs good, two legs bad.”

Animal Farm
George Orwell

Suspected cases like this should be reported to authorities, including the police, Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, and the SPAC.

An Animal Farm of Horror
Gordon Chan avatar
Gordon Chan, Esq

Barrister of the High Court of Hong Kong. Member of the Bar Association's Committee on Criminal Law and Procedure. Specialised in medical, technology and criminal law.

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