Wild boar is shot dead after eluding police for six hours
A policeman shot dead a wild boar to end a six-hour hide-and-seek chase in dense bush outside Tuen Mun Hospital yesterday.
Police were called in at 5.30am when the pig was spotted running along a path beside the railway near the hospital. An attempt to catch the animal with ropes before officers from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department arrived had failed.
The boar then ran into thick bush bounded by railway lines and Tuen Mun River and evaded more than 20 police, and department officers for hours. Officers - some carrying shields - stood guard on the perimeters of the bush area.
'The bush covers an area of 50 metres by 200 metres. The wild pig moved around when we approached it,' said Superintendent Tony Chin Chi-chung.
A government veterinarian equipped with a tranquilliser dart gun was called in.
'However, an analysis by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department indicated that we could not use the tranquilliser gun to catch it because of the dense bush,' Mr Chin said.
Police feared people could be at risk if the boar ran out of the bush and it was decided to shoot the animal. A New Territories North Emergency Unit officer was assigned to shoot the boar at about 11.30am.
'The first shot was fired at a distance of about 10 metres. After this, we inspected and found the wild pig was still moving. The second shot was fired at close range to put it down,' the superintendent said.
No disruption was caused to the hospital or train services and no one was injured, police said. Officers suspect that the boar wandered into the area from Tai Lam Country Park via the Tuen Mun River.
A department spokeswoman said officers had wanted to lure the boar back to the country park but it was just too far. 'Using a tranquilliser gun was not viable either as the boar might still have fled before the drug took effect,' she said. 'This might have created more safety problems.'
The department received 347 complaints about wild pigs last year, compared with 202 in 2007 and 157 in 2006, a department spokesman said. He said wild boar were a common species in the countryside although population numbers were unknown.
Last year the department permitted 159 wild-pig hunts, up by 70 per cent from 2006.
Yau Wing-kwong, head of Tai Po Environmental Association, said the growing number of wild pigs was attributable to a lack of predators. Increasing numbers meant 'some have to go further to look for food'.
But Mr Yau said there was no need to reduce pig numbers because they normally lived in the countryside and did not attack people.