A doctoral student at Hong Kong Polytechnic University has been arrested for cruelty to animals after he was accused of killing snails by covering them with salt. Police launched an investigation earlier this month following reports of a man holding a bag of salt and sprinkling the contents on wild snails on a grassy area off East Ocean Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui. The man reportedly told passers-by that the shelled creatures were hazardous to the ecosystem and he was taking action to remove them, ignoring their appeals to stop. Officers from police’s animal crime team in Yau Tsim district located the 25-year-old computer science doctoral student at about 7pm on Monday and arrested him. He was escorted to his flat on Hillwood Road in Tsim Sha Tsui, where officers seized the clothes he was said to be wearing at the time of the alleged offence on August 4. Salt draws moisture out of a snail under an osmosis effect that can kill them within minutes from dehydration.