Photos have emerged on social media in China that appear to show a rat tied up and "shamed" after stealing rice from a shop.
The photos - posted to the Chinese micro-blogging platform Weibo - show the rodent tied by all four paws to some kind of trolley and wearing a sign explaining that it was caught stealing rice from a convenience store.
They were apparently taken in Heyuan city in southern China's Guangdong Province.
Two pictures were posted on Jan 23 by a Weibo user with the screen name "jiu lian shan she zhang", said the Daily Mail.
The Weibo user said: "A friend of mine found a small rat in the warehouse of a convenience store."
He or she then expressed symapthy for the "poor rat" being treated in such a way ahead of Chinese New Year.
In another photo, the rat has a post-it note attached to its body, which reads: "I dare not do it again!" said the Daily Mail.
The account holder of the "jiu lian shan she zhang" account confirmed to the Mail that the rat had been caught at a shop owned by his friend. He said the notes had been written by staff at the store.
The man did not expect the photos to draw so much attention on social media, the Mail said.
He explained that many people had left comments under the pictures with different opinions.
"Some people pitied the rat, some people hated the rat, and some people found it to be funny," he said, according to the Mail.
"I pity the rat. It's just a small animal. It would almost certainly die being treated like this."
The owner of the shop where the rat had been caught confirmed that the creature was found by his staff.
The man, named Lai Tiancai, said the Mail, said "it was just a rat" and this was a "small incident".
The uploader has called for attention from the Shenzhen Traffic Police through his post.
In response to the pictures, the Shenzhen Traffic Police posted three smiling face emojis on its official account on Weibo, the Mail reported.
In January 2016, a man and woman from China filmed themselves tying up a defenceless mouse and "interrogating it" for allegedly stealing bananas, the Mail said.