Pit bull terriers seized in Hong Kong dog-fight arena raid
A dog-fighting arena at which police believe up to 200 spectators at a time gambled hundreds of thousands of dollars on illegal fights was raided by police yesterday.
Ten fighting dogs were seized after a weeks-long surveillance operation in the New Territories by policemen posing as hikers.
The unlicensed pit bull terriers were seized when officers and staff from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department raided the 372-square-metre site in Ngau Keng Village off Kam Sheung Road, Pat Heung, at about 2.30pm.
Two of the dogs had injuries to their limbs and mouths, but otherwise appeared to be in good health. Last night, they were being kept in the government kennels in Sheung Shui. No one was arrested in the joint operation involving more than 20 officers.
The 2.3-square-metre arena, at the back of the village near a hillside, is believed to have existed for about a year. It is fenced, lit and surrounded by a concrete seating area that can accommodate up to 200 people.
Ho Chin-hoi, a department vet, said the fight area was carpeted so dogs could hold their ground while fighting.
Assistant Pat Heung divisional commander (operations) Senior Inspector Wong Moon-tong said the raid came after a tip-off saying the site had been used for dog fighting last month.
'We believe the open area is used for dog fighting and breeding fighting dogs illegally. The dog fight is organised once a month for insiders or those interested in dog fighting or gambling. Those wanting to attend the dog fight are asked to gather in one place, are transported to the village and then led to the site,' Mr Wong said.
He said the dog fights were organised for illicit gambling and both organisers and spectators could be charged with cruelty to animals or illegal gambling. 'The amount involved in such illegal gambling activity could reach more than $1 million a night,' Mr Wong said.
Officers are trying to find out who organised the fights but Mr Wong said there was evidence villagers were involved in illegal activities.
Pat Heung divisional commander Chief Inspector Alan Crowther said it was hard to believe villagers were unaware of the dog-fighting arena. He said police could check with the district office to find out who the landlord was and what agreement had been reached on use of the site before considering follow-up action. Villagers refused to comment yesterday.
Dr Ho said that under the Dangerous Dogs Ordinance, pit bull terriers are one of four fighting breeds that have to be on a leash and muzzled in public areas. It is illegal to breed fighting dogs in Hong Kong or to import them from overseas. There are over 100 licensed pit bull terriers in the SAR and they have to be castrated under current regulations.
Of the 10 dogs found yesterday five were males, two females and three puppies.