A territory-wide wildlife-feeding ban that dramatically increases the maximum penalty to one year in prison and a HK$100,000 fine is proposed as a way to address the boar nuisance.
The move comes as the number of injuries involving wild boars has increased in recent years, with the animals often roaming busy urban areas in search of food, according to documents submitted by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and conservation in the Legislative Council. It will be discussed during Monday’s environmental affairs panel.
The AFCD said the existing boundaries of the city’s wildlife feeding prohibition zone are meant to control the feeding activities of wild monkeys.
“Although feral pigs fall under the definition of ‘wild animals’…many feral pig feeding blackspots in urban areas are not covered by the existing feeding prohibition zone,” a- he declared.
The AFCD said it wants to expand the no-feeding zone under the Wildlife Protection Ordinance to cover the whole of Hong Kong, taking into account the possibility of people moving around. simply to different sites and continue to feed wildlife and the difficulty of enforcement.
The AFCD also suggested a 10-fold increase in the maximum fine to HK$100,000, adding that average fines have been below HK$1,000 over the past two years.
It will consider appealing to the courts to review sanctions deemed too lenient in appropriate circumstances.
The document also proposes a fixed fine of HK$5,000, saying it can streamline the process of prosecuting “relatively simple” cases by issuing tickets directly to violators.
Roni Wong Ho-yin of the Hong Kong Wild Boar Concern Group said he had no objections to the amendments, but he urged the department to withdraw the “catch and kill” tactic and implement the contraception program.
He said many people sympathized with the wild pigs killed and fed them after the department adopted the “capture and kill” tactic.
Wong said the AFCD should first dedicate more manpower to patrols around wild pig black spots. He added: “The wild pigs did nothing wrong, they were people who broke the law. The authorities should not sacrifice the wild pigs.”
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals also welcomed the proposed total ban.
A spokeswoman said the workforce of the enforcement department would be a major factor in terms of efficiency, adding that the government should also focus on controlling litter and educating the public to keep away wild animals in urban areas.
A Democratic Party district councilor, Felix Chow Hiu-laam, supported the proposed changes, “which should have been done sooner”.
He said these can fill gaps in the law, adding that authorities need to clarify the definitions between wild animals and domestic animals.
The proposed ban came after the department in November began capturing and euthanizing wild boar found in urban areas, despite widespread criticism that the tactic was inhumane.