ALTHOUGH shark sightings in Hong Kong waters have become quite common in recent years they still make headline news. The public love to read about foul monsters of the deep risking life and fin in the murky waters of the Pearl River Delta. In 1955, a common Finback whale was trapped under a pier in the harbour and was shot by the Marine Police. It was only a baby whale measuring a mere nine metres and its skeleton is preserved in the Department of Biology in the Hong Kong University. A century earlier, in August 1854, The Friend of China newspaper reported the sighting of a creature which became known as Hong Kong's own Loch Ness Monster: ''An extraordinary fish was seen between Lantao and Macao on the morning of Monday last. Its length could have been traced for more than about forty feet, but it might have been double or treble that; the jaws were enormous, and resembled a large ship's launch broke in two. ''After gambolling about the boat from which it was seen, and blowing for some ten minutes, it was left astern.'' The editor of The Friend of China, William Tarrant, although inclined to sensationalism, was far too moral a man to have invented the story. However when it comes to monsters, Hong Kong's press corps sometimes, regrettably, let their imagination get the better of them. In the 1960s a mysterious snow leopard was reported to be roving the New Territories. This mythical creature started a trend. Tigers were particularly popular. Although the last tiger was shot near Stanley in 1945, there have been dozens of alleged sightings in recent years. In one case a certain newspaper offered a large amount of money for anyone who succeeded in capturing one of these beasts. Nobody claimed the reward. The ''tiger spore'', which started all the fuss, turned out to be the footprints of a friendly Great Dane.