Police warned yesterday that those responsible for the Mid-Levels dog poisonings could face life in prison if caught. They could be charged with criminal damage, which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, said Detective Senior Inspector David Wong Lik-hang, of the Regional Crime Unit of Hong Kong Island. 'It [dog poisoning] is like someone making a bomb to blow up a building. It is the same criminal damage offence,' he said. The latest spate of poisonings killed four dogs and at least five were taken ill from December 1 to 3 in the Bowen Road and Black's Link area. The poisonings began in 1989 but no one has been arrested. Mr Wong said it was difficult to say whether the attacks were perpetrated by one person or a group. He urged people to report dog poisonings to the nearest police station or his unit on 2859 8519. He said police had taken steps to prevent more attacks but would not say what they were. A police spokesman said earlier that patrols had been increased and warning notices displayed along footpaths. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has launched an e-mail campaign for Mid-Levels dog owners to form neighbourhood watch units. Sandie Fournier, who owns three dogs and signed up, said: 'I have picked up poisons at least a dozen times through the years. My worry is it's going to be a child [next time].' Former Airport Authority public relations head Clinton Leeks, who is now based in Britain, said he could empathise with owners as his dog was poisoned in 1997. 'The devastation it has on one and one's family . . . is appalling,' he said.