Three tonnes of cats to be destroyed after Vietnam police catch smugglers

Police in Hanoi have seized a truck carrying three tonnes of cats smuggled from China to sell to restaurants in northern Vietnam.

Kittens Source: Fairfax

"After receiving a tip, we searched the truck and discovered the cats inside," said Cao Van Loc, deputy chief of police in Dong Da District.

"The owner, also the driver, said he bought the cats at the border area of Quang Ninh province," Loc said.

"All of cats were from China."

Photos in An Ninh Thu Do newspaper showed the cats crammed into wooden crates, with some legs and tails poking out.

Loc said the cats would be destroyed and the owner fined around US$350 (NZ$469.79) for transporting goods without the correct documents.

Cat meat is considered a delicacy, particularly in northern Vietnam, where it is called "little tiger" and is considered good luck.

The meat is usually fried or barbecued and served at festive occasions or eaten as a snack with rice wine.

In recent years, cat meat has become more popular, leading to an increase in smuggling from China.