Missing police patrol dog is found dead in Hong Kong harbour

Three-year-old Belgian shepherd's body recovered after four-day land and sea search

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 May, 2014, 1:10pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 24 May, 2014, 2:40am

A police patrol dog that ran away from its handler in Quarry Bay was found dead in Victoria Harbour on Friday morning.

The body of Dax was spotted floating in the sea off North Point fire station on Healthy Street East at about 7.50am, according to police.

A search had been under way for the three-year-old Belgian shepherd since he slipped his leash in the Hoi Yu Street confined area of Quarry Bay at around 9am on Tuesday.

“Marine police was sent to pluck it out of water and then it was confirmed as the police dog – Dax - which went missing on Tuesday,” a police spokesman said.

The location is about 400 metres from where Dax was last seen.

Dax disappeared while its handler, a senior constable aged 43, was off duty but had returned to North Point police station to take the dog for a walk.

The Hoi Yu Street area is surrounded by 2-metre-tall fencing, but a big hole in the fence opens out to the coastline.

Police believe Dax ran out of the confined area through the hole and then fell into the sea.

A land and sea search was immediately launched but found no sign of Dax. Officers patrolling on land and sea had been asked to keep a lookout over the past three days.

Police said the force would review the case. Officers are understood to be investigating whether the dog should have been leashed at the time and whether the handler had followed guidelines.

A police source said disciplinary action would be taken if negligence was involved.

The force has about 100 dogs in service, 64 of them Belgian shepherds. Each has an identity microchip fitted.

The Belgian shepherd, also known as the Malinois, is expected to replace the German shepherd, which is slightly bigger, as the main breed used by the force. With an average life span of 13 years, the breed would offer at least 10 years of active service. The are known to be loyal, intelligent and easy to train.

Hong Kong police also use springer spaniels and labradors to search for explosives and drugs.

In 2010, three-year-old Belgian shepherd Antje leapt over a 2.4-metre fence surrounding its kennel at Cheung Sha Wan police station. It was found in a Kwai Chung village 10 days later.