Hundreds stage funeral procession for dog killed by MTR train

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 August, 2014, 4:52am
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 August, 2014, 1:24pm

Hundreds of people turned up to mourn a dog killed after straying onto railway tracks on Wednesday, as pressure built on the MTR Corporation to take responsibility and avoid a repeat of the case.

They gathered dressed in black at Sheung Shui MTR station, where the dog was first spotted, before proceeding like a funeral procession to Fanling, where the dog was run over by a train from Shenzhen.

Amid a heavy police presence, they carried flowers and tied ribbons to the fence in remembrance of the dog. They say MTR staff should have held the intercity train and coaxed the animal off the track.

Watch: Death of dog on MTR tracks sparks outrage in Hong Kong

"It's about the lack of respect for life," said one tearful participant, Eleanor Yuen Chan-lai. "I'm most angry about how the MTR handled the situation. This could've been avoided, but they did not value life."

The dog's death has sparked a petition signed by more than 90,000 people, and a protest outside MTR Corp headquarters.

Anger over a matter that, to some, might seem small could indicate wider social grievances, according to Chinese University sociologist Dr Chan Kin-man.

"There's a lot of compressed issues behind this. The fact is that there is monopoly in both Hong Kong's economy and politics, and people are feeling very disconnected and ignored by the big companies and the government," said Chan, a co-organiser of the Occupy Central pro-democracy movement. "The widespread outrage could be due to the common Hongkonger's feeling of being alienated."

Chan said many protesters had other grievances with the MTR Corp. The company has been under fire over a range of issues, including service delays and construction problems, which have pushed back the completion of the already controversial cross-border high-speed rail link by two years.

Secondary school pupil Lee Ka-po, who witnessed Wednesday's incident, questioned the claims that staff did their best to coax the dog off the track. "My mum and I tried to go down there, and so did other people, but were stopped by the MTR staff," said Lee, who said she told staff she had experience rescuing animals for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The MTR Corp said on Friday that it was "sorry" about the dog's death and would improve staff training and procedures.