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Talks to separate Hong Kong and mainland Chinese pigs in slaughterhouses amid African swine fever fears
Hong Kong food safety officials were on Thursday night in talks with the pork industry over segregating local and mainland Chinese pigs during slaughter, because of fears of an outbreak of African swine fever, which had already spread to neighbouring Guangdong province. But the Centre for Food Safety said the separate ownership and operation of the city’s two main abattoirs made separation difficult. Mainland and local pigs are both processed at the Sheung Shui slaughterhouse, which is owned by the government, and a privately run one in Tsuen Wan. “The operation, source of pigs and sales are different, making it difficult to achieve a consensus,” a source from the centre said, though adding that segregation would help protect local pigs from infection.
The centre revealed the talks after the national Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs reported 11 pigs had contracted the disease and died at a slaughterhouse in the Xiangzhou district of Zhuhai, Guangdong, just 60km from Hong Kong on the opposite bank of the Pearl River Delta. The source said the centre and the city’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department had stepped up measures to prevent local pigs from being infected, including giving local farmers information about the disease and boosting sterilisation of trucks used in the industry. A total of 154 mainland pig farms supply the animals to Hong Kong and Macau. But supplies from four of them were suspended because they were near areas affected by the virus. There are 43 pig farms in Hong Kong, with a total of about 50,000 pigs. About 3,500 to 4,000 live pigs are supplied from the mainland to Hong Kong daily. They and about 250 pigs from local farms are slaughtered every day. The centre said the supply and auction price of live pigs imported from the mainland in the past few months had been stable, despite the swine fever – a severe viral disease, for which there are no vaccines or treatments.
Secretary for Food and Health Professor Sophia Chan Siu-chee convened an interdepartmental meeting on Thursday to discuss the latest situation and possible contingency measures. She urged the public not to worry about the disease, which humans cannot catch. “[African swine fever] is a contagious disease in pigs which will not be transmitted to humans, posing no food safety risk. Well-cooked pork and pork products are safe for consumption,” she said.
China reported its first outbreak in August in the northeastern province of Liaoning. Cases were later reported in 23 provincial-level regions. At least 631,000 pigs have been culled in the battle against the disease. The owner of a local pig farm, speaking anonymously, said he worried there would be a high chance of the disease spreading from the mainland to Hong Kong, given the high number of pigs sent to the city every day. “Hong Kong and mainland pigs are handled together in the same facilities, and there are trucks and people going in and out of those places,” the owner said. “If there is African swine fever in the slaughterhouses, people might not notice. But a truck might carry the virus and spread out when going to local farms.” He said that about two months previously his farm had stepped up hygiene measures to prevent the fever, such as thoroughly cleaning the facility once a week, as opposed to the usual once a month. It also cut inward deliveries from three times a week to once a week, to decrease traffic in and out.
But Hui Wai-kin of the Hong Kong Pork Traders General Association said he was not worried the virus would spread to Hong Kong, as mainland authorities had enhanced hygiene inspection measures for pigs crossing the border. For example, he said, pigs would need to be observed at an inspection point for eight hours to ensure good health before they could enter the city. He added that Hong Kong authorities also conducted inspections before and after slaughtering pigs. Hong Kong health officials earlier this month did a culling drill, for in the event of the fever spreading to the city. A total of 30 toy pigs were used in the drill. Photos of officers in full protective gear playing with the pink toy pigs attracted city residents’ attention on social media.
A man was recorded on video trying to create a phony accident by hurling himself at a slow moving car and he thought he could get away. Luckily the man was not hurt as displayed from the dashcam footage. The incident happened on December 9th in Cheung Sha Wan. Police officers placed the 41 year old suspect under arrest for a fake hit and run (he being the one who ran away, in this case).
This suspect is allegedly a serial offender who is also linked to four other instances of deliberately getting “hit” by cars before asking for money. According to HK01, the man initially denied he was demanding cash on the planned collision. He claimed he rushed in front of the car because he was upset after arguing with his girlfriend. Then his history of phony pedestrian collisions emerged, prompting police to reclassify the case from “normal traffic accident” to suspected fraud.
The Police linked him to four similar instances in Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok that occured in the last year . Each time he would rush on to the road get “knocked over” and demand cash. However he has never succeeded, according to HK01. Police are also seeking a female accomplice who, in the most recent case, appeared to deliberately stop the driver from pursuing the suspect by blocking his path and shout that she was being “molested.”
Source: Ejinsight / Apple Daily HK
Police are investigating a fatal road accident that took place on Monday involving a school minibus, with officers trying to confirm if failure or improper application of the handbrake led to the crash.
In the serious incident that took place in North Point, an empty minibus careened down a street just after the driver had exited the vehicle, plowing into pedestrians and claiming the lives of four people and injuring nearly a dozen. According to Chief Inspector Sun Lun-yum from the police’s Hong Kong Island traffic unit, the driver may have forgotten to pull the handbrake or did not do so properly when he parked the vehicle on a downward slope. That may have caused the minibus to roll down a street, striking passersby before it crashed into a storefront. The investigation would focus on whether the driver properly applied the handbrake or whether there was mechanical error in the handbrake, the police officer said.
The deceased included an 80-year-old woman who died at the scene, a 70-year-old woman who died at Ruttonjee Hospital, and a 77-year-old man and an 83-year-old man, both of whom died at Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital. The tragic accident also injured 11 other people, aged 22 to 89. Four of them, including the 62-year-old minibus driver remained in critical condition at hospitals, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports. The driver suffered injuries as he got hit by the moving vehicle after he stepped out.
Expressing her sadness at the news, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said the police will conduct a thorough investigation into the accident. Speaking from Zhuhai where she gone to attend an event, Lam offered condolences to the families of those who died and wished the injured a speedy recovery. She urged motorists to remain vigilant at all times about road safety, noting that unsafe behavior could affect many lives and families.
The accident took place at around 2 pm, when the school minibus driver was just about to get off work after having finished his second shift that day picking up kindergarteners. He parked the vehicle on Cheung Hong Street near Fort Street, in an area that bears an eight-degree slope downward. Footage of a dashboard camera from a passing vehicle showed that immediately after the driver got off the minibus and closed the door, it suddenly skidded forward and began moving down the slope. The shocked driver stood in front of it and tried to stop the minibus from sliding, only to be trapped underneath it and getting dragged for about 20 meters before he lay on the ground suffering serious injuries. Meanwhile, the minibus just kept rolling down the street and hit two taxis, before hitting some pedestrians. It did not stop until it crossed King’s Road and rammed into a shop on Hei Wo Street.
It took firemen about 20 minutes to pull out one woman and two men who were trapped underneath the vehicle. As the driver was fighting for life at the intensive care unit of Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital, the person in charge of the company which owns the minibus said the driver involved in the accident started his job about a year ago. The person described the driver as being a good person who loves children very much and does not engage in rash driving. After watching the footage, Lo Kok-keung, a retired engineer from the mechanical engineering department of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, noted that the minibus did not skid downward immediately after the driver got off the vehicle, but moved slowly down after he closed the door. That suggests that the driver did not apply the handbrake in a secure fashion, Lo said. Based on the inclination of the slope and the minibus’s speed of about 30 km/h when it was skidding, Lo calculated that the impact could be as strong as eight metric tons.
Data from the government show there were three accidents involving failure or improper application of handbrakes last year, causing three deaths. This year, there have been two such incidents as of date, including the one that happened in North Point on Monday.
Source: OnCC/Coconuts HK
Police have arrested 15 men, some with triad backgrounds over a gang attack on food hawkers in Tsueng Kwan O which saw one female vendor’s food cart toppled and her face scalded with her own soup. The attack took place on Monday night inside Sheung Tak Plaza where about 10 food carts had assembled to serve customers after 9pm according to on.cc. Appearing suddenly, a large group of men clad in dark clothing and surgical masks set upon the hawkers flipping multiple food carts during the brazen 30-second raid. Among those targeted was a female vendor surnamed Cheung who was manning her spicy noodle soup broth cart with her husband and son. During the fracas Cheung was scalded in the face and hands with the hot and spicy noodle soup broth she was serving. The 42-year-old’s pain and shock can be heard in a video published by on.cc showing a group of men walk away from the scene. Cheung’s sobs are audible in the background.
Police arrived at the scene shortly after the attack and Cheung was taken to hospital. According to Sing Tao Daily, police arrested nine men on Monday night after the Sheung Tak Plaza incident was reported, and another six men last night. The first group of men — aged 17 to 35 — were detained after police received a tip off at 10pm on Monday night that nine men were spotted acting suspiciously at Po Lam. Police then intercepted the group and arrested them on suspicion of possessing offensive weapons and using false instruments after they found two pairs of gloves, two knives, 2 wooden sticks, a box of face masks, and two sets of car license plates inside a private car connected to the group.
The remaining six men — aged 21 to 40 — were arrested at noon yesterday on suspicion of criminal damage. Anti-triad officers are investigating the case, with reports suggesting at least some of the men had triad links.
Source: Ejinsight / Apple Daily HK
A 57-year-old man was arrested by police on Wednesday on suspicion of killing his wife and trying to pass off her death as a suicide case. According to Apple Daily the husband who is believed to be unemployed called the police at around 2:55 pm and informed them that his wife, 40, attempted to commit suicide at home. After arriving at their flat in Nam Lok House building in Nam Shan Estate a public housing estate in Shek Kip Mei, police and paramedics saw a woman lying unconscious on the floor. Paramedics rushed her to Caritas Medical Centre where she was pronounced dead. While the husband claimed that his wife killed herself the police were skeptical of his claims as they noticed injuries on the woman’s back and also didn’t find a knife at the scene. A search in the building led the officers to uncover a fruit knife in a rubbish bin near a staircase on the same floor where the couple’s flat was located. An examination led to the conclusion that it may have been the weapon that was used to inflict grievous injuries to the woman. The husband was arrested on suspicion of killing his wife. Man Chi-yeung, chief inspector (crime) of the police’s Sham Shui Po district unit said initial investigation suggested that a relationship dispute was likely to be what led to the crime.
The case has been listed as murder and the was husband placed under custody. Post-mortem examinations will be conducted on the victim to ascertain the cause of her death. A source told Apple Daily that the husband had suspected his wife, who was from Huizhou in Guangdong province, had an extra-marital affair. The pair was heard quarrelling multiple times in the recent past, according to the source.
Following Wednesday’s death and the arrest, the couple’s two sons, 16, and 10, will, for the time being, be put under the care of the Social Welfare Department. The department will provide the family with appropriate support and assistance with respect to their welfare needs. The case is being followed up by the crime squad of Sham Shui Po district.