All Nippon Airways (ANA) More than 10 tigers have been killed as "visual feasts" to entertain officials and rich businessmen in a Chinese city, state media reported.
Police in Zhanjiang in the southern province of Guangdong seized a freshly slaughtered tiger and multiple tiger products in a raid this month, said the Nanfang Daily, the mouthpiece of the provincial Communist Party.
Local officials and successful businesspeople gathered to watch the tigers being killed as "eye-openers" to show off their social stature, it said.
Video footage of a killing two years ago showed the tiger, kept in an iron cage, having an electrified iron mass prodded into its mouth with a wooden stick and passing out after being electrocuted for more than 10 seconds, the paper said.
An experienced cattle or pig slaughterer is normally hired to butcher the carcass, it said, adding that tiger bones sold for an average of 14,000 yuan ($2,300) a kilogramme while the meat fetched 1,000 yuan a kilogramme.
Police said a butcher -- who jumped to his death while trying to escape arrest in a raid -- had killed more than 10 animals, the report Wednesday added.
"The tigers were probably anaesthetised for transport. But buyers would check them to make sure that they were alive before the killing," it quoted an unnamed source as saying.
Most buyers of the meat and bones were business owners who would then give them to officials as gifts, the paper said.
Tiger bones have long been an ingredient of traditional Chinese medicine, supposedly for a capacity to strengthen the human body, and while they have been removed from its official ingredient list the belief persists among some.
Decades of trafficking and habitat destruction have slashed the roaming big cat's numbers from 100,000 a century ago to approximately 3,000, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Red List of threatened species, where it is classed as endangered.
said Thursday it would buy 70 new planes worth $16.4 billion, with almost half from Airbus in move that marked a victory for the European aircraft maker as it tries to prise open the lucrative Japanese market.
The airline will buy 40 planes from Boeing, its major supplier that has had a virtual stranglehold in Japan for decades, and 30 from Airbus to increase its fleet ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, a statement said.
The order includes 14 of Boeing's troubled Dreamliner as well as 20 units of the 777-9X, and six 777-300ERs.
It will also buy seven Airbus A320neo and 23 Airbus A321neo.
The aircraft will be delivered between 2016 and 2027 and will increase the size of the ANA fleet to 250 aircraft.
The new Boeing aircraft will serve mainly international routes while the Airbus aircraft will operate both overseas and domestic trips, ANA said.
"ANA Group’s introduction of these new aircraft will help it respond to the needs of the increasing number of passengers expected to arrive in Japan in the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and will support the Japanese government’s plans to boost the annual total of foreign visitors to Japan to 20 million," the firm said.
The orders, collectively the biggest in ANA's history, came as the airline aims to expand its international presence.
"The aircraft we have selected will enable us to modernise and expand our fleet further as we seek to become one of the world’s leading airline groups," said Shinichiro Ito, president and chief executive of ANA Holdings.
"These new aircraft will give us maximum flexibility and improved fuel efficiency and will allow us to meet the growth in demand, both internationally and in our domestic Japanese market," he said in a statement.