The corpse of a pig has been found on Cheung Chau’s Tung Wan Beach.
The three-foot-long corpse was found by swimmers at around 10:30am on Tuesday. Police were notified and closed off the area for the investigation.
It remains unclear as to whether the pig had come from Cheung Chau or elsewhere. An officer from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department covered the corpse with a plastic bag.
The incident occurred amid fears of the African swine fever epidemic that has swept through mainland China. There have been at least 106 cases of the disease across 24 provinces and regions.
The infection can be transmitted through direct contact with affected animals and may survive for months or years in processed or frozen food. It does not harm humans, but is highly contagious among pigs and has a very high mortality rate. There is currently no vaccine or cure, with China having had to kill around 910,000 pigs.
Earlier this month, a pig carcass found in Taiwan’s offshore Kinmen County, which neighbours mainland China, tested positive for African swine fever.
Authorities checked ten pig farms around a five-kilometre radius from the location of the pig carcass. No other African swine fever cases were found.
Taipei’s Taoyuan International Airport is checking all carry-on luggage belonging to tourists from Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China for pork products, in a bid to prevent the spread of African swine fever.
Hong Kong Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan had said last month that the government has been improving the standard of hygiene at import locations, transportations and slaughterhouses.
“However, if Hong Kong sees an African swine fever epidemic, the government will take decisive action to try to minimise its effect on the local pig industry,” she said.
“We will continue to closely monitor the latest development of the epidemic, in order to make fast and effective responses.”