Singapore Airlines (SIA1) (SINGY) staff at Hong Kong international airport (HKG) received an unusual surprise on November 6, 2021.

At 7 pm local time (11:00 UTC), a worker found four kittens walking around in the cargo hold of a Boeing 747-400. The flight, SQ7868, had flown from Singapore and landed at HKG the previous evening.

Two of the cats appeared to be black, and two were white. 

The worker immediately contacted the police, and the animals were transferred to specialists from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.  

According to the news portal HK1, AFCD arranged for a veterinary inspection and the kittens have been quarantined, a requirement to assess the risk of rabies. 

However, The Standard reports that there have been previous occasions where AFCD has destroyed animals that have illegally arrived in Hong Kong. This has raised some concern among the island's animal rights activists.

An activist behind a Facebook page called ‘Catching Cats and Shadows 2.0’ contacted AFCD and amassed a considerable following after several of the page's posts about the issue went viral. The page, which organizes care programs for street cats, called for activists to keep contacting AFCD in a bid to convince the department to take good care of the kittens.

According to Catching Cats and Shadows 2.0, the incident may have been an attempt to smuggle the felines into Hong Kong. While there have been similar cases in the past, not all of the animals have survived.

However, according to the site’s latest post, published on November 7, 2021, the AFCD confirmed that the kittens are in good health. They have been quarantined, and will be put up for adoption following their release. 

The information has been confirmed by HK1, as well as other Hong Kong news sites.