Vietnam police have stopped a truck filled with three tonnes of live cats on the way from China to Vietnam, ready to be sold to restaurants.
The truck was searched by police around midnight on Tuesday when it was found parked on a street.
The 30-year-old driver Hoang Van Hieu was the owner of the undocumented shipment and said he bought the cats at the Chinese border area of Quang Ninh province, the Tuoi Tre newspaper reported.
Deputy Chief of police in the Dong Da District Cao Van Loc said the truck full of cats was discovered after they received a tip-off.
Mr Loc said the cats would be destroyed and the owner fined about $440 for transporting goods without having the correct documents.
The practice of cat smuggling in China has become increasingly widespread with cat meat, known as “little tiger”, considered by some as a delicacy to be served at occasions such as weddings, and is considered good luck.
The meat is usually fried or barbecued and can also be eaten as a snack with rice wine.
Vietnamese health officials have put out a warning about the risk of rabies, fungal skin diseases and typhoid fever among the people involved in the smuggling, slaughtering and eating of the cats.
Animal rights groups have condemned both the cat and dog meat trade in several parts of Asia.