A police officer, Maverick Tang Ching-yin, was found not guilty on Thursday of shooting monkeys with an airgun in Kowloon’s Kam Shan Country Park.
He was tried in court for one count of cruelty to animals and one count of wilfully disturbing protected wild animals without a special permit for his actions on March 27.
According to local media, the magistrate, Don So Man-lung, said that since there was no light at the witness’s location, it would have been difficult for him to see that there were monkeys “unless they were wearing neon coloured clothing.” He said that the testimony of the witness, Mok Ming-yuen, could not be fully trusted.
Mok, a Correctional Services officer, had said in court that he had seen the defendant carrying a gun into the country park and he had opened fire on 10 monkeys. He said he heard a scream every time a shot was fired.
However, in his police statement, Mok also said that he had heard five shots before hearing a scream and that the environment was too dark to see if they were monkeys.
The judge said that there were many reasons why animals might scream.
Tang told Ming Pao that he had endured a lot of pressure during the case but would not commit illegal acts again.
“I will never do this again, I won’t be playing like this, one time is enough.”
Commenters on Facebook were unhappy with the result of the case, with one saying: “So from now on, at night, everyone can take an airgun and shoot. As long as there are no screams and as long as it is too dark, there’s definitely no problem!”
Another said: “This is crazy and dumb. When you’re beat up or raped then there’s no need to sue.”