Purebred kittens and puppies are being smuggled between mainland China and Hong Kong by boat

The Asia One website reports the death of an alleged Chinese smuggler of 28 kittens and puppies whose body was found in Hong Kong waters after a high-speed chase. Two men were involved in the smuggling of kittens and puppies from mainland China to Hong Kong. The police tried to intercept the speedboat. It took off at high speed. The pursuit took 10 minutes during which one of the men fell from the speedboat about 1.8 km offshore. They think he might have jumped to avoid capture.

Kittens, cats and puppies are being smuggled between mainland China and Hong Kong by boat
Kittens, cats and puppies are being smuggled between mainland China and Hong Kong by boat. Photo: SCMP.

The police found 15 puppies and 13 kittens inside eight cages on the speedboat together with other contraband. The pets were expensive breeds. They projected that each could be sold for as much as HK$10,000 each in Hong Kong (£928). It seems that expensive purebred puppies and kittens are being smuggled from mainland China to Hong Kong for sale. This must be happening to avoid importation laws and duties.

UPDATE: The Guardian newspaper reports terrible news causing outrage in Taiwan:

"The animals were estimated to have a value of $10m New Taiwan Dollars (US$357,504). All were put down on Saturday, which also happened to be International Homeless Animals Day."
Last November 34 kittens and 9 puppies were also smuggled into Hong Kong from the mainland. On that occasion no arrests were made. The kittens were expensive purebred cats such as Ragdolls, Russian Blues, British Shorthairs, Scottish Folds, American Shorthairs and Bengals.

On another occasion, sadly, 15 cats and dogs were discovered deceased inside cages. They believe that the cages were thrown overboard while the smugglers were being pursued by the police. Apparently smuggling also takes place in the opposite direction from Hong Kong to the Chinese mainland. When companion animals are smuggled from Hong Kong to China it is believed to be because mainland Chinese working in Hong Kong return home and ask an agency to have their pets sent to them. They pay 40,000 yuan for the service.

Comment: I don't know the laws pertaining to the importation and exportation of animals in and out of Hong Kong and China but clearly there are heavy restrictions. There is a land border between Hong Kong and China and a sea border. I'm going to guess that the smugglers chose the sea border because they felt it was far more likely to succeed. It appears that smuggling pets in this way is not uncommon. Covid may be the main reason for smuggling pets as there may be an absolute ban on pet importation into Hong Kong at this time.

Ultimate source: SCMP.

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