Warning on animal traps after second hiker snared on hillside

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 March, 2008, 12:00am

Hikers are being warned about hidden animal traps after a man stepped into a boar trap on a hillside in Yuen Long yesterday - the second such incident in eight days.

The accident happened at about 11.40am when the 52-year-old victim, surnamed Lam, was climbing a hill behind Pak Sha Tsuen, off Kung Um Road, to collect herbs for making Chinese medicine.

He stepped into the trap, which was planted in the ground and concealed in dense bushes on the hillside, police said. His left leg was trapped. Unable to free himself, he dialled 999 on his mobile phone to seek help. Two fire engines and an ambulance were sent to the scene, but firemen were unable to find the man as he had failed to give his exact location.

It took firefighters and police officers more than an hour to find the man in the dense bushes, according to senior Tin Shui Wai fire station officer Lau Kim-wan.

He said their hand tools were not strong enough to free the man. Firemen had to cut the chain that connected the trap to its base.

'We carried the man with the trap in a stretcher and took about half an hour to walk down the hill. We then used a jack to open the trap and free him,' Mr Lau said.

The man was conscious when he was taken to Pok Oi Hospital, where he was discharged after treatment.

An elderly woman villager said the trap was probably set to catch boars many years ago. 'No one dares to set such traps nowadays because it is illegal,' she said.

To avoid stepping in traps, villagers used the official trails when climbing the hill, she said.

Last Tuesday, a hiker, 59, was injured after being snared by a similar trap on a hillside off Sha Tau Kok Road in Sheung Shui.

The public must stay alert for animal traps while hiking, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department warned yesterday.

The department had told its country parks staff to look out for animal traps during their patrols to prevent similar accidents and to warn villagers that setting animal traps was illegal, a department spokeswoman said. She said the maximum penalty for possession of hunting implements was a HK$50,000 fine. The maximum penalty for trapping wild animals was a HK$100,000 fine and one year in jail. Last year the department found five animal traps and one person was prosecuted.