Animal groups have called on police to do more to find the suspects behind the killing of a wild pig.

The boar was found beheaded last Thursday on a trail near Lung Hang Estate in Tai Wai. Witnesses also found a plastic bag containing entrails nearby, but the rest of the animal’s body was missing.

Photo: Wild Boar Concern Group.

Roni Wong of the citizen-led Wild Boar Concern Group, which was first to arrive at the scene, told HKFP that an animal trap and pig skin remains were found in the woods near to where the dead animal was discovered.

“This is the first time we have seen such a cruel method used to kill a wild pig,” Wong said. “We don’t rule out the possibility that it was used for food, or maybe the killer was seeking excitement or wanted to challenge the moral bottom line of the public.”

Police, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) were also called for assistance.

A police spokesperson told HKFP that the case, classified as “cruelty to animals,” is being investigated by the criminal unit of the Sha Tin police district. No arrests have been made so far.

Roni Wong. Photo: HKFP/Arthur Lo.

Under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance, any cruel acts against animals are punishable by up to a HK$200,000 fine and three years’ imprisonment.

In a joint statement issued last Friday, the wild boar group and two other civil society groups – the Alliance for Hong Kong Animal Police and 18 Districts Animal Protection Commissioners – urged the police to “take the case seriously given the gravity of the situation.”

They suspected the wild pig might have suffered “extreme pain and fear” when being butchered. “We hope officers will investigate the suspects and not tolerate animal abusers so as to deter harmful conduct against animals,” they said.

Animal groups have long criticised police for not putting enough efforts in investigating animal abuse cases.

“Many people who reported suspected animal cruelty cases have said that officers did little or even tried to dismiss their complaints by saying things like there was no witness,” Wong said.

A wild pig near houses in Wong Chuk Hang. File Photo: HKFP/Arthur Lo.

He added that animal killing cases should be investigated with the same amount of effort that police put into homicide cases. “Today a wild pig was killed cruelly, your cat or dog could be next tomorrow – someday it could be a human victim, given how brutal and bloody this incident was.”

More deaths

Meanwhile, Wong feared more wild pigs may have been killed. There have been at least three reported deaths of wild pigs in Tai Wai within the past month. One was suspected to be have been killed with poison, while another appeared sick before collapsing in the vicinity of a housing estate.

A third wild pig was found dead earlier this month after residents reported foul smell of its corpse to Sha Tin district councillor Rick Hui. His assistant Roy Tong told HKFP that residents are used to seeing wild pigs around and they mostly consider the animals part of the community.

Shatin district councillor Rick Hui and a government cleaner took away the corpse of a wild pig found in Tai Wai this month. Photo: Roy Tong.

“Of course we still get complaints sometimes about animal droppings, which could cause smell nuisance. We have asked local authorities to increase the frequency of cleaning the streets,” Tong said.

See also: Cute or dangerous? How six Hongkongers are fighting to challenge misconceptions about wild pigs 

He said another problem is feeding, which encourages the animals to keep returning to the area. “There are fences preventing people from entering the hill behind Lung Hang Estate, but people throw food across the fences to feed the wild pigs.”

Tong added that while neutering is a reasonable method of wild pig population control, he was opposed to killing them and causing them unnecessary pain.

An AFCD banner at a popular spot for feeding wild pigs. File Photo: HKFP/Arthur Lo.

Wild pigs are native to Hong Kong and commonly seen across the territory. Increased feeding activities in recent years have attracted the animals to frequent residential areas, sometimes leading to human-wildlife conflicts.

In response, the AFCD has rolled out a pilot scheme of wild pig population control. It previously told HKFP that the trial program studies the effectiveness of contraceptive vaccine GonaCon and other neutering treatments.

Ellie Ng

Ellie Ng has written for Foreign Policy, the Daily Telegraph, Global Voices Online and others.