A man has been sentenced to six months in prison for stealing a black swan from a Shanghai park, taking it back home, slaughtering it and eating it — well half of it anyway.
Back in April, workers at Shanghai’s Xujiahui Park noticed that one of the park’s five prized black swans had gone missing. While checking surveillance tape, police found footage of a man snatching the swan and hurrying away.
Officers tracked down the man, a 30-year-old local food delivery courier surnamed Zhou — who said that on the night in question he had gone to the park to do some fishing with friends, but had been scared away by security patrols. However, as they were leaving, they happened upon a black and Zhou decided to grab it.
On the way back home, Zhou claims that the swan mysteriously died. Feeling bad about the bird’s death and not wanting the animal’s sacrifice to go to waste, he plucked and boiled the swan when he got back home, leaving it in the freezer overnight.
The next day, Zhou and a friend cooked up the bird with some radishes, but didn’t find the taste to their liking, eventually throwing half of it away.
In May, Zhou and his companion were arrested by Shanghai police and charged with hunting and killing the swan.
Last week, a Shanghai district court found Zhou guilty of larceny for stealing the swan, sentencing him to six months in prison and fining him 1,000 yuan to compensate the park for its loss. In the end, Zhou was punished for his theft, not exactly for what he stole (and ate).
According to CGTN, Zhou was not more harshly punished because the court explained that the slaughtered swan “was not in the country’s rare and engendered animal category.” However, as far as we can tell, all swans are second-class protected animals in China.
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