PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 17 April, 2011, 12:00am


Time to treat animal cruelty with the seriousness it deserves

I refer to the article ('Appeal to Find Homes for 140 Dogs', April 10) and wish to express my shock at the leniency of the sentence passed on the alleged dog breeder, Lam Wai-sze, who admitted causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.

The fine of HK$5,000 is less than the price of just one of the puppies and the 150 hours community service is a slap on the wrist.

The judge had the maximum penalties of HK$200,000 and three years imprisonment at his disposal and this was a perfect opportunity to finally make an example of illegal breeders who routinely treat the animals in their charge with neglect and cruelty.

The term 'unnecessary suffering' does not really begin to cover the hell these animals endured, some of whom had been kept in filthy cages outside in all weathers with a variety of medical ailments, and some of whom had had their vocal cords cut to prevent them from barking.

The sentence also makes a mockery of the time, resources and money expended by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, the police and the prosecution service.

I very much hope that future offenders will receive the sentences they deserve.

When will the judiciary finally treat animal cruelty as the serious crime that it is?

Wong So-ping, Tai Po

Penalties no deterrent in dog-abuse case

I am writing in response to the article ('Appeal to find homes for 140 rescued dogs' April 10).

The Department of Justice should be urged to appeal against this disproportionately lenient sentence, which is not a meaningful deterrent to other illegal domestic animal breeders and traders, or to other abusers of animals in Hong Kong.

Seeing as the maximum penalties for this type of offence are HK$200,000 or three years imprisonment, it beggars belief that the offender did not receive a sentence of sufficient scale to match the severity of his crime.

The extremely light sentence passed in this case can serve only to encourage other illegal breeders and traders that even if they are caught, the punishment will not fit the crime.

Brooke Babington, co-chairperson, Stop! Save HK's Cats and Dogs

Tycoons unlikely to lead on social change

I thank Jake van der Kamp for his history lesson ('Blame history, not Li Ka-shing for HK's tilted property market', April 10) and totally agree that Li Ka-shing took the market as he found it in the 1960s/70s and played the property game as the government set it - as did the other property tycoons.

However, your columnist is naive if he ignores contemporary history that indicates how astute commercial ideas have resulted in bulging financial muscle and marketplace dominance, which have in turn been translated into 'behind closed doors' political influence, particularly on land, housing and development policies.

Mr Li is now feted by presidents and prime ministers, and he certainly has immediate access to Hong Kong's executive and legislative councillors.

The list of the major financial contributors to Donald Tsang's campaign for the post of chief executive and the prominence of tycoons on that election committee makes it all too apparent where the real power in Hong Kong is located.

Hongkongers are savvy and aware that the team of former bureaucrats that make up the current administration are impotent in reigning in the tycoons' rapacious interests. Protests, such as at Cheung Kong Centre, ParknShop and Chow Tai Fook, are therefore being directed at the tycoons themselves ('Unhappy campers take on Superman', April 8).

Van der Kamp's prescription for a fairer distribution of wealth is a more open market. Agreed, but expecting the tycoons to usher in such positive social changes is like asking turkeys to vote for Christmas.

J.F. Kay, Kowloon

Not-so-tolerant approach to babies

I refer to L.K. Ho's call for restaurants to have a 'no baby' policy on the basis that crying babies are, to some people, supposedly offensive ('Parents and their crying babies have no place in restaurant environment', April 10).

What lovely, welcoming, tolerant and inclusive society Hong Kong can boast to have!

Peter Gregoire, Happy Valley

A giant leap for India against corruption

In reference to your international article ('Indian activist's hunger strike forces action on graft', April 10). The courage, unity and pride executed by the Indians are honourable.

Corruption, the age-old vice of India has been a stain on the beauty since independence. The greedy politicians and officials grab the public's wealth, possessions and savings.

But on April 9, the echo of democracy rippled through India. Rays of hope shone through the nation. The voice of the public silenced the voice of corruption.

By exercising his democratic powers, veteran activist Anna Hazare led more than 150 people in a peaceful anti-corruption 'fast-unto-death campaign'. His amicable demeanour overpowered the loud wailing and avaricious conduct of corruption.

I salute Hazare and the voice of the nation as I realise their democratic unity goes far beyond the greed of the minority of politicians and officials.

Arpan M. Savlani, Mid-Levels

Live and let live with city's 'stray' cows

I'm not quite sure how to break this to the people complaining about the cows ('Bovine invaders create a stink at Sai Kung estate', April 15) but cows were there long before people decided to clear land and build their apartments.

There's a lot of debate about what to do with wild dogs and other 'stray' animals.

At some point people have to realise that humans do not own everything. We do share the world believe it or not.

What is a stray, by the way? Is the only kind of legitimate creature one that is on a leash, corralled into a ranch, or otherwise a prisoner? Are the birds that flit around the skies considered strays?

Bernard Lo, Mid-Levels

Less scaremongering on nuclear issues

There's been a healthy debate on the future of nuclear power stations in China as well as other places around the world.

Clearly, additional safeguards need to be incorporated in the generation of electricity by means of nuclear power. But P.K. Lee's ('Naive reaction to power plants', April 15) assertion that a nuclear power plant can become an atomic bomb is scientifically incorrect and is merely scaremongering.

Yes, accidents can happen, as with any human endeavour, and all possible measures must be taken to avoid and control such accidents. But for an atomic explosion to take place, nuclear material must reach a critical mass and this is extremely difficult to achieve.

In the case of a nuclear power plant, there's no way to bring nuclear material to such a critical mass; it simply isn't possible under even the worst scenario.

Keith McNab, Sai Kung