Two Hong Kong men were arrested after police raided a village house in Yuen Long in the New Territories and allegedly found about 1,000 protected animals on Tuesday.
Acting on a tip, around 50 officers or representatives from the Hong Kong Police Force, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals raided a three-story house in Cornwell Garden off Kam Sheung Road and a metal hut in Lin Fa Tei on Tuesday morning, Sing Pao reported.
About 1,000 animals were found, most of them members of endangered species, the report said.
Police say they found wild animals such as otters and golden coin turtles in the house, as well as protected species including masked palm civets, peacocks and foxes.
A large glass tank containing 10 species of fish including giant arapaima and albino gar as well as giant salamanders was found on the ground floor of the house.
About 70 snakes, several dogs, and Bengal cats were discovered too.
A 49-year-old man believed to be the operator and a 27-year-old man believed to be a staffer were arrested.
Police said no laws had been broken in terms of the health of the animals or the conditions they were kept in, Radio Television Hong Kong reported. However, officers are looking into whether the two men had the requisite licenses to hold or trade in such animals.
Neighbors said they noticed a couple and a few Filipino men and a woman had been employed to walk dogs, Oriental Daily reported.
The neighbors had complained of the many animal noises coming from the house.