TAIWAN – Chan Ho-Yeung is currently facing up to a year behind bars for the violent murder.
The 24-year-old student has been officially charged with the brutal killing of his cat, which was a well-known and charming icon in its local neighborhood in Taipei, Taiwan.
Chan Ho-Yeung faces only one year behind bars for the violent murder.
He was greeted outside the courthouse by a large, vicious mob of animal rights activists and protesters as his trial began.
Chan did admit that he killed the pet cat, which belonged to a vegetarian restaurant owner simply because he was “in a bad mood”.
Chan went on to explain to prosecutors that he murdered the cat so he could feel better.
Chan claimed that he stole the cat from the restaurant and beat it to death before dumping its carcass in a nearby river.
Unlike in mainland China, Taiwan has unusually strong laws against the abuse of animals, especially cats and dogs under the Animal Protection Act.
This means that the graduate student could face a year in jail as well as a $33,000 fine.
The hysteria surrounding the case follows revelations that Chan could in fact be or become a “serial cat killer”.
He explained that he only killed the one restaurant cat out of “revenge” because he was upset at being charged earlier this year for the killing of a different cat – a stray known affectionately as Big Orange.
Big Orange, who was killed by Chan last December, was known to thousands of local residents all around the university.
Chan said to the judges: “I have a psychological problem, and I could not control the compulsion to kill a cat.
“So when I saw Big Orange as I was passing by, I could not restrain myself from committing the crime.”
Others have suggested that Chan has actually killed approximately four cats in total.
Anger towards Chan absolutely boiled over on Thursday outside the Taipei courthouse, where angry protesters punched the student, pulled at his hair and called him things like “human waste”.
The 22-year-old from Macau represented himself in court without the assistance of a lawyer at the proceeding.
During the chaotic scene, several dozen police officers seemed powerless to stop protesters from reaching Chan and two police officers were even left injured.
Furious residents have pleaded for politicians to severely toughen up the animal cruelty law.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Huang Wei-cher explained that animal cruelty is an early predictor of more violent crimes in later life, and increased penalties for animal abuse are necessary to prevent more serious crimes.
Activists propose a five-year jail sentence for extreme animal cruelty.
Animal rights advocates fear that Chan will harm more animals if he is released from prison.
Chan has since apologised for the killing, stating he felt guilty for hurting a weak creature simply because he lost control emotionally, and begged for forgiveness.
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