Two Hong Kong men who confessed to hurling 29 pets out of their apartment window in February will not be taken to court, the Department of Justice has ordered.
In an email reply to Coconuts HK about the case, the police’s media bureau said: “The police have completed their investigation. After considering the evidence, the Secretary of Justice has decided not to pursue prosecution.”
Earlier this year, animal rights activists expressed outrage after fifteen animals, including a cat, two rabbits and nine chinchillas, were discovered dead on a slope and in a ditch near a housing estate in Sham Tseng, a coastal district in Tsuen Wan.
The carcasses were passed to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department for examination.
Fourteen pets—among them nine cats and five chinchillas—were also found severely wounded, some with serious bone fractures. They were sent to a clinic at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) for treatment.
A 49-year-old male, who is a secondary school teacher, surrendered at Tsuen Wan police station over the case. Another man believed to be his boyfriend was also arrested.
Authorities conducted a search of their fifth floor apartment, where the animals are said to have been thrown from. According to HK01, the 700 square feet unit was spacious and well-kept, with two out of the three rooms that appeared to have been used to keep the pets.
On Facebook, netizens lashed out at authorities for disregarding the lives of animals and allowing the abusers to go scot free. Some specifically targeted Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng.
“This type of person is an insult to the words ‘rule of law.’ [Cheng] uses the rule of law to bully the weak and line her pockets, not at all to uphold justice,” one person wrote.
(Earlier this month, Cheng used her authority as Secretary for Justice to halt two private prosecution cases related to last year’s protests—one of which was an investigation into a police officer who fired a live round at a student.)
“The animal lovers who don’t like to talk about politics, come out and say a few words,” another said.
Under Hong Kong law, persons found guilty of animal cruelty can face up to three years in jail and a fine of HK$200,000 (US$25,800).
Last year, the government proposed strengthening animal protection laws by raising the maximum imprisonment term to 10 years, and the fine to HK$2 million (US$258,000). It remains to be seen if the proposal will be passed.