[Hong Kong] Reporting Illegal Bird Traps 水流田有人設網捉雀

Reporting Illegal Bird Traps 水流田有人設網捉雀

At Shui Lau Tin, Shek Kong today we came across an illegal mist net with a struggling Blackbird in it.  The area also had some cage traps, baited with corn.

The blackbird, slightly injured, has been taken to KFBG.

I have Emailed AFCD on their website to inform them about the bird traps, link here :- ... con/cou_con_con.asp

On Dec. 15th I found some mist nets near Tong Kung Leng, Sheung Shui. Having left a message on the AFCD website they replied reasonably quickly (on Dec.19th) that a team had removed the nets on 18th December.

Anyway, the purpose of this message is to remind people to report mist nets and cage traps they find to AFCD.  Midwinter seems to be the "peak season" for this kind of offence !

[ Last edited by BWA at 28/12/2008 19:23 ]



Is this common in HK? Do they sell the birds or they just love to eat wildbirds?
A few Hongkies living in Shanghai have been busy removing mistnets on Chongming Island, you can visit the following links if you are interested (unfortunately they are all in simplified chinese). Hong Kong is good since AFCD act really quickly to things like this, unlike in mainland, so you guys shouldn't complain too much about AFCD...

6米高30米長的網。。 隨處可見。。。
mist nets 6m tall and 30m long, can be seen easily

The use of home-reared raptor to assist in bird catching?

A summary of the recent activities


Maybe a little bit late.  

The photos were taken in 3 March 2008.  

The dead bird/animal I guess they were a red-whiskered bulbul and a bat respectively.
The venue was a little farmland near the buffalo field at Pui O (the hot birding site).
I have visited the same place last month, but the mist net have been removed.
If any birders visit there, please kindly help to take a look.


Bird Trapping in Hong Kong

Hi Jimmy,

I don't think bird trapping like this is very common in Hong Kong. Certainly, people don't NEED to trap birds and animals to survive!
Bulbuls and Magpie Robins caught in nets can be sold as cage birds. The cage traps photographed above are probably for Spotted Dove or Oriental Turtle Doves, which are more likely to be eaten.  But I'm only guessing.

My meaning was to praise AFCD for responding to my previous complaint; they must be busy with "Biosecurity" issues after a recent outbreak of avian influenza in Yuen Long.



Unfortunately these mist nets do occur fairly regularly around Hong Kong agricultural land.
The justification I have heard previously is that they deter the birds from feeding on the crops, but I'm sure some will be taken for food and some kept as cagebirds.

As well as birds, fruit bats are regularly trapped and die in nets. Although it is mostly common species involved, I have seen Painted snipe and Japanese Sparrowhawk dead in mist nets before. What really troubles me is the knowledge that these birds and bats suffer a slow death struggling to escape from the net.

As John suggests, I would advise anyone finding an illegal mist net to report it to AFCD. They do seem to take this very seriously and will visit the site quickly to remove the nets. I think they usually just give a warning to the land owner that the nets are illegal and that they will inspect the site in future - this generally seems to be sufficient for most land owners to stop this illegal netting (I don't remember seeing any repeat offenders after I have reported the case to AFCD)


Bird Nets removed

Yesterday, 2nd January, I went to look for the Hawfinch reported along airfield road, with a few others.  We didn't find the bird, but some GOOD news was that I checked the field at Shui Lau Tin and found the net and traps gone.  It turns out AFCD visited the site on 30th December and took them away :

"Dear Mr. Holmes
        Thank you for notifying AFCD about a mist net and other cage traps seen at Kam Tin area. Our Nature Wardens conducted a search in the area on 30.12.2008. One set of mist net and 3 cage traps were seized. However, no one admitted to be responsible in the vicinity but we will keep an eye on the area and will take action as appropriate once illegal traps are found.
        If you see any illegal traps/ mist nets in future, please help by calling the "1823 Call Centre" to notify AFCD so that prompt action can be taken to rectify the situation.

Best Regards...."


Mist nets at Fa Sum Hang, Siu Lek Yuen, Shatin

Two mist nets were found today at Fa Sum Hang, Siu Lek Yuen, Shatin. The location of the nets is opposite to Fa Sum Hang Pavilion.  The case was reported to "1823" immediately at about 11:00 am today.

The mist net was mounted between the bamboo poles

The mist net was almost invisible from a distance.

The location of the nets is opposite to Fa Sum Hang Pavilion.


It always strikes me that calling 1823, while it is something the government wishes people to do, is not very efficient. Here in our office we email a map direct to AFCD in order that they can act quickly, which they usually do, it must be said.

The new officer responsible for this is Mr CT Shek. I'm not sure it's appropriate for me to post his email address on this board, but for those of you who know how AFCD email addresses work, you will be able to work out his. Otherwise, feel free to contact me either via PM or email.

Geoff Carey


Mist nets at Fa Sum Hang removed

An officer of AFCD called me on 10/2/2009 and advised that they would inspect the site on that day. I visited the concerned area again on 22/2/2009 and found that all nets were removed and the bamboo poles were laid on the ground.


Mist Nets at Shui Lau Tin, Shek kong - Nov. 2009

On 15th Nov 2009 I birded along Airfield Road.  

About 30m along a path beyond the eastern end of the paved road ( south of the channel ) in a field I found some birds hanging from string and some more nets. The same place nets were set up last winter ! The area is now fenced, unlike last year.

I contacted AFCD and was telephoned on Friday 27th November to be told that AFCD had removed the nets successfully.  Well done, AFCD.
Apparently the person in the fields was cheeky to the AFCD staff and at first wouldn't let them in for inspection.   However, eventually, the offender ran away.

Anyway, this is just a suggestion to keep an eye out for illegal bird trapping now it is winter and inform AFCD (by the methods suggested above) where necessary.

John Holmes


I recently saw some steel jaw traps in the Kam Tin area - designed for trapping the legs of animals. These were particularly barbaric in nature, causing not only the slow death from being trapped in the sun but also causing significant injuries to the birds (and also potentially other animals) involved.
The traps contained a Green Sandpiper, Chinese Pond Heron and Waterhen. The sandpiper in particular must have been in extreme pain with the leg completely shattered by the trap.

I reported the traps to AFCD who visited on the same day and removed 8 traps. The injured birds were taken to the AFCd vet clinic.
I would echo John's view that all birdwatchers whould be alert for illegal trapping and report it to AFCD (or the police). In my experience AFCD is very quick at responding to these issues (which is clearly important if there are birds trapped). It would be good, however, if there were more prosecutions as an added deterrent.


The only caveat I have is that when it comes to hooks attached to string dangled above the water of fish ponds, AFCD does not do anything. Something about not removing these without permission of the owner. As nobody is likely to admit to owning or placing the hooks. this seems rather unfortunate.

Such hooks are present at a number of fishponds in the Deep Bay area, and have been for months, at least.

Still, it is worth reporting these.



Mist nets at Fa Sum Hang, Siu Lek Yuen, Shatin

At least four sets of mist nets were found yesterday (26/12/09) at the farms adjacent to Fa Sum Hang Pavilion (near the location reported in this thread on 8/2/09). I saw nothing in last few weeks and suspected that somebody might get fruitful results recently, which encouraged others to follow.

Reported to 1823 at about 11:30 am and received return call from AFCD after about 5 min. to confirm the details. Another officer of AFCD phoned me again at about 2 pm on the same day and advised that he was at the site and confirmed the locations with me.

Very appreciate AFCD's high efficiency. I would inspect the site and report later.


Original posted by mkitwah at 27/12/2009 02:40
At least four sets of mist nets were found yesterday (26/12/09) at the farms adjacent to Fa Sum Hang Pavilion (near the location reported in this thread on 8/2/09). I saw nothing in last few weeks and ...
Thank you very much for your effort!
Look forward to your updated news!


Mist nets at Fa Sum Hang, Siu Lek Yuen, Shatin

An officer of AFCD called me on 28/12/2009 am informing me that they would re-visit the site. He phoned me again in the afternoon that the nets were removed. I also visited the site on 2/1/2010 and found that the nets ererted before 26/12/2009 were removed. Thanks for AFCD's effort.

The first photos were taken on 26/12/2009. The second one was taken on 2/1/2010.

[ Last edited by mkitwah at 3/01/2010 20:10 ]


IMG_6399.JPG (62.61 KB)

3/01/2010 20:09



P1022113.JPG (130.56 KB)

3/01/2010 20:09




Mist nets at Fa Sum Hang, Siu Lek Yuen, Shatin (Jan/Feb 2010)

After the misty nets at Fa Sum Hang were removed at early Jan 2010, at least two sets of nets were found again at the same farms on 24/1/10. Though I had called 1823 again but the nets were still there during my visits on 31/1/2010 and 21/2/2010. In my latest visit, one of the net was deteriorated (not removed) and imposed less risk to birds. Another one was still not removed. In addition, a cage with two Red-vented Bulbul were put on the ground. One bulbul was dead and another still alive (see photos). I called 1823 again on that day (21/2/10) informing them the nets were not removed and birds were captured. No response from AFCD was received until 25/2/10 (i.e. after five days). The officer asked for details of the sites and then no further advice was received.

It seems to me that AFCD is not taking effective action on these repeated offended cases though I had highlighted in my report on 21/2/10 that birds were captured. Shall I call 999 instead of 1823 next time in order to save the red-vented bulbul?


100221-FaSumHang-067_resize.JPG (91.18 KB)

27/02/2010 21:04

deteriorated net


100221-FaSumHang-068_resize.JPG (96.87 KB)

27/02/2010 21:04

Net not removed


100221-FaSumHang-074_resize.JPG (133.99 KB)

27/02/2010 21:04

red-vented bulbul in cage



It's the same with hooks across fish ponds in the Deep Bay area. There are many ponds with these, especially at Hoo Hok Wai (aka Ma Tso Lung). But AFCD does nothing.


Mist nets at Fa Sum Hang, Siu Lek Yuen, Shatin (Jan/Feb 2010)

Visited the site (Fa Sum Hang) again today (28/2/2010) and found that the deteriorated net was removed. Another one was mounted horizontally above the farm to pretend that it was erected to protect the harvest. However, no reflective materials was attached to the misty net to keep the birds away. The cage was still there but no bird inside.


Original posted by mkitwah at 28/02/2010 16:38
Visited the site (Fa Sum Hang) again today (28/2/2010) and found that the deteriorated net was removed. Another one was mounted horizontally above the farm to pretend that it was erected to protect th ...