LCQ15: Combat illegal hunting of animals by animal traps
Under the Wild Animals Protection Ordinance (Cap 170), any person who, without permission, hunts wild animals by means of any hunting appliance, or possesses any hunting appliance, shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine at level 5 (i.e. $50,000). It has been reported that in recent years, there have been cases from time to time in which animals and members of the public were injured by animal traps illegally deployed in rural areas. On the other hand, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) also catches animals by means of animal traps. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the following figures in each of the past five years:
(i) the number of patrols conducted by the Government to combat illegal hunting of animals by means of animal traps, the manpower deployed for this purpose, the number of illegally-deployed/illegally-possessed animal traps seized, the number of cases in which prosecutions were instituted and the average amount of fines imposed on the convicted persons;
(ii) the number of animals injured by illegally-deployed animal traps and subsequently euthanised by the AFCD, broken down by species;
(iii) the number of animals caught by the AFCD by means of animal traps, with a breakdown by way of disposal and the respective percentages of such numbers in the total number; and
(iv) the numbers of reports received by the AFCD on members of the public having been injured by animal traps; and
(2) of the measures, in addition to deploying staff to conduct patrols in rural areas from time to time, put in place by the Government to combat hunting of animals by deploying or using animal traps illegally?
Our response to Hon Chan Hak-kan's questions is consolidated as follows:
According to the Wild Animals Protection Ordinance (Cap 170), without permission, no person shall has in his possession of hunting appliance, and hunt any wild animals by means of hunting appliance. Upon conviction, the maximum penalty is a fine of $50,000. If any person hunts or has in his possession of any "Protected Wild Animals" scheduled under the Wild Animals Protection Ordinance, the maximum penalty upon conviction is a fine of $100,000 and imprisonment for one year.
The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) spares no effort in combating illegal hunting of wild animals, and patrols the countryside areas regularly, particularly to the places where the animal traps were discovered before. If any animal trap is found, the AFCD will remove it immediately, and will display notices to remind the public that using hunting appliance is unlawful. If there is sufficient evidence, the AFCD will prosecute the offenders. Apart from patrolling the countryside areas, the AFCD will also arrange joint operations with the Police and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to step up patrol the places where the animal traps had discovered, and to dispatch relevant leaflets to the nearby public. In the past five years, the number of patrol arranged by the AFCD, the number of animal traps seized, the prosecution figures and the penalty imposed are set out in the table below:
|Patrol frequency*||1 526 times||1 597 times||1 563
|Animal traps seized||151 pieces||149 pieces||297 pieces||140 pieces||198 pieces|
|Prosecuted Cases#||0 case||1 case||1 case||1 case||1 case|
# Offenders have been successfully prosecuted in all cases brought to court.
In the past five years, there was no animal euthanised by the AFCD which was due to the injury caused by animal traps. During the same period, the AFCD did not receive any reports of human injuries inflicted by animal traps, nor any person selling animal traps illegally.
The AFCD has taken appropriate measures to handle stray animals properly to prevent the outbreak of zoonotic diseases so as to safeguard public health and safety in Hong Kong. Over the past five years, the AFCD captured about 2 270 stray animals in average each year by animal traps, including 500 cats, 1 540 dogs and 230 pigeons, and also captured 687 monkeys in average each year by animal traps.
The AFCD does not keep the records of the number and the percentage of animals which were captured by animal traps, in accordance with different treatments of the animals.
Ends/Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Issued at HKT 14:26
Issued at HKT 14:26