Two relatives who skinned and cooked a cat to feed a dog in Yuen Long earlier this year have been fined.
Defendants Tang Xungang, 53, and his niece Shu Xingqao, 37, were fined a total of HKD2,000 at Tuen Mun Law Courts today after they were each convicted of one count of using cat flesh for food.
Tang had pleaded guilty during an earlier hearing in September, while Shu, who had previously denied any involvement, pleaded guilty in court today.
Shu’s defence counsel reportedly argued that she had grown up in a rural area in southern China and was “ignorant of Hong Kong’s laws” as she had never completed her primary school education, Headling Daily reports.
During sentencing, Magistrate Kelly Shui told the defendants that animals are “respected and protected in Hong Kong” unlike in their native mainland China.
The charges related to an incident which took place outside the pair’s home in Pat Heung on Jan. 31 of this year.
Two plainclothes police officers patrolling the area reportedly saw the cat hooked onto a ladder while Tang and Shu skinned it and burned its flesh with a blowtorch, respectively.
A pot of boiling water was also found nearby.
Tang, who worked at Shu’s vegetable farm, said under police caution that the cat had died from the cold weather. Shu previously said in court that she found the cat dead on her farm that morning and was told by her husband to bury it in the hillside, but “was too scared”.
That evening, Shu claimed Tang said, “The cat’s so big, it shouldn’t go to waste. Cook it for the dog to eat,” and then torched the animal’s flesh by himself.
According to an autopsy report by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, the cat didn’t suffer any major trauma. Vets could not determine when or how the animal died.
The maximum penalty for using cat flesh for food is a HKD2,000 fine and six months’ imprisonment.
EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of this article stated that Tang and Shu were cousins. We regret the error.
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