A National Taiwan University (NTU) student from Macau, who has admitted strangling a popular stray cat nicknamed “Big Orange” in December last year, has allegedly killed a second cat in Taipei’s Wenshan District.
Chemistry major Chan Ho-yeung (陳皓揚) was asked to report to police on Monday after a restaurant in Wenshan District on Tuesday last week told police that its cat was missing.
Police said that Chan was summoned for questioning after a review of CCTV footage. They said that during his interview he admitted kidnapping and killing the restaurant cat on Saturday last week.
According to police, Chan, who faces a criminal charge for allegedly torturing and killing Big Orange near the NTU campus in Daan District (大安) in December last year, said he was under immense stress as a result of the Big Orange case and was being criticized by animal rights activists, so he killed a second cat to seek revenge.
Chan reportedly targeted the restaurant’s cat because it was popular among animal lovers, police said.
Police said he caught the cat and knocked it unconscious before throwing it into the Sindian River (新店溪).
Authorities have condemned Chan’s behavior and promised to help prosecutors press further charges against him.
“Chan would be the first repeat offender of the Animal Protection Act (動物保護法) in the nation’s history if he is convicted twice,” Council of Agriculture Animal Husbandry Division Deputy Director Wang Chung-shu (王忠恕) said yesterday.
He said that while the act stipulates a maximum one-year prison sentence, no animal cruelty offender has served a prison sentence in addition to paying a fine.
“The act does not include any corrective measures to psychologically rehabilitate chronic violators. However, education is necessary to prevent repeat animal abuse,” Wang said.
The university gave Chan two major demerits, two minor demerits and counseling support after he was connected to the Big Orange case, but the counseling was apparently unsuccessful, school officials said.
The university said its disciplinary committee will meet to discuss the most recent case, and Chan, who is scheduled to graduate this year, might be expelled.
The death of Big Orange gave rise to draft amendments to the Animal Protection Act.
The legislature’s Economics Committee last month approved the amendments which would double the penalties for animal cruelty from a maximum one-year prison sentence and a fine of between NT$100,000 and NT$1 million (US$3,193 and US$31,931) to a maximum two-year prison sentence and a fine of between NT$200,000 and NT$2 million.
Netizens said they are planning to stage a protest when Chan appears before a court on Tuesday next week in the Big Orange case.
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