Netizens are weighing in after a pro-government website said Hong Kong people would have complained if train services were delayed just to save a stray dog.
The comment, published by speakout.hk, was prompted by a public backlash over the killing of a dog last week by a passing train which witnesses said could have been avoided.
MTR Corp. issued three statements regarding the incident before making a public apology late Friday amid mounting public complaints about its handling of the aftermath.
“If train services are stopped for an hour, a few hours, or half a day to deal with a similar incident, would Hong Kong society tolerate the delays?” the website said.
“Would animal lovers come out to support MTR?”
Netizens accused the website of misleading the public, saying the rescue would not have lasted half a day.
Discussions should focus on why MTR attendants sent to remove the dog from the track did not know what to do, they said.
Also, they said the rail operator should explain why there are no barriers to prevent animals from entering the tracks.
Meanwhile, their mainland counterparts mocked them for spending too much time on the subject, calling them “idiots” for mourning a dog, Sky Post reported.
The pro-Beijing Global Times newspaper said it’s not good for Hong Kong to be hung up on a “minor” issue.
Despite the apology, Hong Kong netizens said MTR deserved to be criticized and taking it to task is the right thing to do.
Carlos Lo Wing-hung, a professor of management and marketing in the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, said the strong criticism of the MTR was caused by its insensitivity and by high public expectations about its sense of responsibility.
Most Hong Kong people will accept a delay of several minutes in order to save a dog’s life, Lo said.
MTR has also drawn fire for a press release last Friday that purportedly gave an inaccurate version of events. In the press release, the rail operator claimed that a worker picked up the dog but had to release it as the animal was struggling. The worker suffered some injury, according to the press release.
However, a YouTube video later showed that none of the two MTR workers who were tasked to remove the dog from the rail tracks actually picked up the animal.
Animal lovers have begun calling the dead dog “mei suet”, meaning “unresolved grievance”. Others are suggesting an appropriate tombstone.
On social media, among the trending topics was an incident in New York last year in which the subway was shut down for two hours while a search for two stray kittens were under way.
In Hong Kong that same year, MTR attendants and staff from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals took seven hours to catch a kitten which had strayed onto the track in Tsuen Wan.
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