ANN/THE STAR – Staff at a Hong Kong store are to be prosecuted after a raid by government agencies discovered cat DNA in meat samples seized from the premises.
The blitz on the trade in illegal meat came after an investigation by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.
“The (department) will not tolerate having dog or cat flesh for consumption and will follow up seriously,” a spokesman said on Tuesday. He added officials would boost surveillance, inspection and operations to combat similar offences.
The alleged offences came to light after officials carried out inquiries into the store, in Yau Ma Tei’s Reclamation Street, to gather evidence.
The raid last Thursday was a joint operation mounted with personnel from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department under regulations on cats and dogs.
Environmental health officials will also prosecute individuals under the Food Business Regulation for storage and possession of frozen or chilled meat for sale without permission.
The spokesman said the two agencies and customs officials would work together to carry out joint operations to increase spot checks on suspicious vehicles arriving from across the border.
An investigation by a city media organisation earlier found an account on mainland Chinese messaging app WeChat that cat and dog meat and other products could be sent directly from Kaiping in Guangdong province to Hong Kong and that a shop on Reclamation Street sold such items.
The news report said the shop sold packaged meat at HKD100 (USD12.7) for about 600 grammes.
The shop operator was seen in a video showing the meat to a reporter.
The report said the products had been tested by a laboratory, which confirmed they were of cat and dog origin.
The store operator denied the incident later, despite the video evidence, and insisted his business was legal.
The shop was closed when a South China Morning Post reporter visited it last Friday.