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Five Arrested In Hong Kong For Dog, Cat Meat Found At Flat-Based Restaurant

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Hong Kong police arrested four asylum seekers and an illegal immigrant at a suspected unlicensed restaurant operating from a flat that allegedly served dog and cat meat.

Officers seized 35kg (77lbs) of suspected frozen dog and cat meat from a flat on Shanghai Street in Mong Kok on Thursday as part of a joint operation involving the Agriculture, Fisheries, and Conservation Department, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, and police.

According to a police source, the 500-square-foot flat on the second floor of a tenement building contains a kitchen, three rooms – two bedrooms and a separate room with two dining tables – and a living room with a dining table.

Authorities launched the joint operation after receiving reports of individuals allegedly selling dog and cat meat on the premises, according to a fisheries department spokesman.

Samples of the seized meat will be tested to determine whether it came from the animals. Authorities also discovered Vietnamese menus on the premises, indicating dishes containing meat from the animals.

A 16-year-old boy, a 27-year-old man, and a 43-year-old woman, all non-refoulement claimants, were arrested on charges of serving food at the location.

According to the source, a 50-year-old non-refoulement claimant, who has de facto asylum seeker status in Hong Kong, has been serving cuisine prepared with suspected dog and cat meat in the flat for six months. He was arrested on suspicion of running a restaurant without a licence.

The four were detained on charges of animal cruelty and violating immigration laws.

According to authorities, a 33-year-old man who was suspected of visiting the flat to meet acquaintances entered mainland China illegally. He allegedly travelled to the mainland on Monday by hiding in a truck before taking a boat to Hong Kong, where he was arrested on charges of illegal immigration.

According to a fisheries department spokesman, if evidence is discovered, the 50-year-old man may face prosecution for operating an unlicensed restaurant in violation of the Food Business Regulation.

Hong Kong does not grant asylum because the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention does not apply to the city. Instead, it provides non-refoulement, which ensures that asylum seekers are not returned to countries where they face persecution or torture.

Those who are granted refugee status may remain in the city until they are resettled in a third country. They are not permitted to work while their applications are reviewed.

The slaughter and sale of dog and cat meat is illegal in Hong Kong, with offenders facing up to six months in prison and a maximum fine of HK$5000.

The spokesman stated that prosecution would be pursued if testing revealed that the seized meat came from dogs or cats.

“The [department] will not tolerate having dog or cat flesh for consumption and will follow up seriously,” a spokesman said.

It advised the public to report any suspected cases to the department by dialling 1823.

In November of last year, authorities launched an investigation into an online trader after discovering advertisements for suspected dog meat online.

In April of last year, the owner of a frozen meat shop on Reclamation Street in Yau Ma Tei was sentenced to ten weeks in prison for selling feline meat allegedly from Kaiping in Guangdong province. The 40-year-old was arrested after police discovered traces of cat meat in samples taken from the store during a raid.

Commercial slaughter and sale of dog meat have been prohibited on the mainland since May 2020, a month after Shenzhen and Zhuhai imposed citywide bans on the consumption of dog and cat meat.

SourceThe Star

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