Is someone copying Bowen Road poisoner?

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 December, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 05 December, 2010, 12:00am

Police fear someone is copying the Bowen Road dog poisoner after poisoned food was strewn along most of its length and in surrounding areas over the past two days.

Worried animal campaigners and police have warned dog owners to take extreme care if walking their pets in the area in Mid-Levels after members of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) discovered poisoned food along various parts of the road over the past 48 hours.

The Bowen Road dog poisoner has struck twice in the past week. A four-and-a-half-year-old bitch, Pepper (right), died after eating poisoned food. When Pepper's owner, Andrew Pang Tze-on, reported the incident to the police, he was told it was the second case in the past few days. Police now believe that the original dog poisoner may have influenced copycats to continue the killing.

'Much like the acid thrower, where more than one person carried out these crimes, we think it is the same with the Bowen Road dog poisoner,' a police officer with a knowledge of the investigation said.

'We have invested a huge amount of manpower trying to catch this person but it's likely that there's more than one person involved. We're determined to catch the person or persons involved. The problem is the randomness of these incidents. It's impossible to police Bowen Road 24/7,' he added.

Before last week's poisonings, there had been no reported incidents on Bowen Road since February. Police said there had been 72 cases of dog poisoning in the area between 1995 and the end of October 2009.

But the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said it believed about 200 dogs had died at the hands of the Mid-Levels poisoner going back as far as 1989.

The SPCA's chief superintendent, Tony Ho Tse-tong, said that there was every possibility that there were copycat killers, but that there was an obvious pattern to the poisonings. 'Over the years, the same poison has been used to kill dogs, and it was exactly the same for the poisoned food we found over the past two days, right down to the colour of it,' Ho, who was a policeman for 35 years, said. 'We know what is used very well at this stage.

'Copycat killers may use different poisons. However, in nearly every case, the same type of poison has been used, so one person could still be behind it all. It's the same modus operandi.'

In another development, Ho said that two weeks ago a small dog was caught in an animal snare behind Hamilton Court on Po Shan Road, Mid-Levels. It was the first incident of this kind to occur on Hong Kong Island. 'These sort of traps are used in the New Territories but not in the likes of Mid-Levels. It's another worrying occurrence,' he said.

The Bowen Road dog poisoner has become one of Hong Kong's most notorious criminals in recent times and police are no closer to catching the canine killer.

It is believed the poisoner uses a very toxic pesticide to kill the unsuspecting animals.

'There's a huge amount being done by ourselves and the police on a daily basis,' Sandy Macalister, executive director of the SPCA, said. 'But the public are the key. It's only with their help that the poisoner will be caught.'