Forget scenes of gangster gunfights in darkened Asian alleyways as made famous in Hong Kong cinema, it turns out the Chinese mafia has found a new haunt: the cobblestoned streets of Belgium.
Belgian pigeon breeders are in a flap after their prize birds have become the latest targets of Chinese crime gangs who are allegedly abducting and killing the homing birds in an international pigeon substitution racket, reports AFP.
Experts say there have been ten reported incidents of 'pigeonicide' this year, with the latest incident involving two men of Asian appearance dumping sacks in woodland near the northern Belgian city of Antwerp, which were later found to contain the bodies of 14 dead pigeons, each with one foot cut off.
Instead of smuggling the expensive birds, which can fetch tens of thousands of dollars at pigeon sales, it is believed the identification rings are then placed on the legs of other less valuable pigeons in China and passed off as the champion racers. The process would also get around the birds' habit of flying straight back home, one imagines.
Concerned about the spate of bird-abductions, and the Royal Belgian Federation of Pigeon Fanciers has advised its 33,000 members to take out insurance policies on their feathered friends, and suggested placing surveillance cameras in their coops to prevent any imminent flights to the great aviary in the sky.
Folklaw wonders if hiring some mercenary vultures would be more effective. Or using eagles eyes for surveillance maybe. Sending in some doves for hostage negotiation...