Swimmers enjoying a quick dip in the sea near Shek O beach had their aquatic idyll cut short after police swooped in following reports that a shark had been spotted in the area.
According to on.cc, police received a report at about 1:30pm this afternoon from a man who said he saw a roughly two-meter shark swimming near the beach, which is located at the end of Dragon’s Back hiking trail on the southeastern tip of Hong Kong Island.
(Coconuts HK has been unable to obtain footage of the scene following the shark sighting, but we can provide this dramatic reenactment. Caution, some viewers may find this video disturbing.)
Officials searched the scene, but couldn’t find the shark, filing the sighting under “miscellaneous,” and allowing visitors back in the water.
A spokesperson for the Leisure and Cultural Services Department confirmed that no sharks were found in the vicinity of the beach.
A Shek O resident surnamed Cheng told on.cc said that he used to see sharks close to the beach when he was a child, but that he hadn’t seen any in recent years.
He told the outlet that the shark prevention nets near the beach — which were damaged by Mangkhut, the signal 10 typhoon that battered much of the city in September — were only replaced last week.
Sharks are a rare sight in Hong Kong, but they do get spotted. In May, a whale shark was spotted in the SAR’s waters, although its specific location wasn’t shared, while in 2015, a whale shark was spotted off the shore of Tung Lung Chau Island, south of Sai Kung.
It remained unclear if the person who made today’s police report mistook something for a shark (like a porpoise for instance), though it wouldn’t be the first time a mistaken animal sighting was reported.
Last March, authorities had to escort a frightened couple down from a hiking trail in Ma On Shan after they reportedly spotted a tiger — which haven’t been seen in Hong Kong for decades. They later realized that what they actually saw was a leopard cat, which typically weighs around four kilos, not a South China tiger, which typically clocks in around 140.