New measures for management of wild pigs
Proposed increase in penalty for illegal feeding of wild animals
Mr CHAN Chun-ying asked how the Administration would ensure that the proposed increase in the penalty could provide sufficient deterrent against illegal feeding of wild pigs, and under what circumstances would the Administration prosecute offenders by issuing summons after the introduction of fixed penalty.
The Administration explained that WAPO currently only provided for prosecution by summons in respect of illegal feeding of wild animals. This required a complex procedure of evidence collection, and generally a long waiting time for the hearing of the cases at the magistrates’ courts. The whole process usually took at least six months. Moreover, the penalty imposed in recent years averaged below $1,000. The Administration therefore proposed introducing a fixed penalty of $5,000 for illegal feeding of wild animals, which could streamline the prosecution procedure and allow swift handling of relatively straightforward cases by immediate issue of fixed penalty tickets to offenders. In cases of illegal feeding of a serious nature and magnitude, AFCD would prosecute offenders by issuing summons with a view to imposing a higher penalty by the court with regard to the seriousness of the offence, including the possibility of imprisonment. It was expected that the above proposal could significantly strengthen the deterrent effects on illegal feeding of wild animals. The Administration would provide enforcement guidelines to relevant law enforcement officers after the implementation of the proposal.
Estimation of wild pig number
Mr CHAN Chun-ying expressed the view that the Administration might have underestimated the number of wild pigs in Hong Kong. They enquired whether the Administration would draw reference from the survey methodology adopted by the Japanese authorities, which took into account variables such as sighting frequency, capture rate and faecal density.
The Administration responded that according to AFCD’s latest estimation, there were about 2 500 wild pigs in Hong Kong. The Administration had studied the survey methodology adopted by the Japanese authorities, and consulted statisticians on sampling methods and statistical modelling. The conclusion was that long-term collection of data through infrared cameras (i.e. the sampling method currently adopted by AFCD) could enable accurate estimation of the number of wild pigs.