The Hong Kong pets emigrating with their owners

After China's new National Security Law to quell unrest and tighten control over Hong Kong, 40-year-old Don Yip decided it was time to leave but not without his pets.

“(These pets) are really a part of my family. I'm also emotionally attached to them after raising them for so many years, I can't abandon them.”

Yip made plans to settle in the UK after a new visa scheme for those with British National Overseas passports.

As part of that, Yip has spent over $14,000 getting ready to relocate his three fluffy huskies and cat, including transportation, vaccinations and processing medical documents.

For help, he hired a pet relocation service called Life Travel.

Diana Chan is the company’s founder.

She says her business surged in 2019, when Hong Kong faced months of anti-government protests.

"From 2017 to 2019, our business to successfully transporting pets increased threefold. It was expected to increase due to the influence from the social unrest.”

Official numbers show a 35 percent increase in animal export certificates from 2018 to 2020.

Animal welfare group the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals also said demand for pet microchips is now four times what it once was.

Countries like the UK and Australia require them for pets coming in.

Jane Gray is with the SPCA's local chapter.

"Of course, (travelling) will be stressful (for the pets). But, it's a short-term stressful event for maybe 24 hours, when you're talking about the rest of an animal's life with their owner.”

Last month, Yip, his girlfriend and her daughter prepared their four pets to make the long journey.

They carefully sealed them into kennels and said goodbye before reuniting again in the UK.