Hong Kong aquarium shop owner gets suspended jail sentence for throwing bag with live fish on ground

Video footage shows him carrying out act four times to ‘test shock absorbing ability’ of bag

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 August, 2017, 1:24pm
UPDATED : Friday, 04 August, 2017, 11:14pm

An owner of an aquarium store avoided jail despite pleading guilty to one count of cruelty to an animal. He had repeatedly thrown a bag containing a live fish on the ground, claiming he was displaying the bag’s shock absorbing ability.

Hui Kwok-yu, 29, was slapped with a six-week jail sentence, suspended for one year, meaning that he will still have to serve the term if he commits any other offence within the coming 12 months.

The owner of the now defunct Dragon Aquarium earlier pleaded guilty to one count of cruelty to an animal, which took place in January.

The incident happened in a building on Tong Choi Street in Mong Kok, an area famous for its numerous marine pet shops and displays of aquarium specimens from fish to turtles.

During his trial at Eastern Court, Hui had suggested that the silver arowana he tortured was for human consumption.

But prosecutors, classifying the fish as an aquarium pet, rebutted his claim on Friday after consulting the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Hui told Acting Principal Magistrate So Wai-tak: “I am very remorseful about this incident. Please give me a chance, your honour.”

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During the sentencing, So noted that Hui had to shut down his store since the incident came to light, as customers were no longer visiting.

The magistrate suspended Hui’s sentence after taking into consideration his remorse.

The court heard earlier that a report was made after Hui’s actions on January 24 were captured on video and seen by an informant.

The video showed a man throwing a pumped bag containing water and a silver arowana on the floor four times, with the man saying: “The fish looks fine. Still alive.”

The informant identified the place as Dragon Aquarium. An arrest was made two days later, during which Hui showed police officers the fish involved.

He told them he was testing the shock-absorbing ability of the bag.

After examining the fish, a veterinarian from SPCA concluded that the drop caused violent movements and loud noise in the water, which hurt and traumatised the animal.