Singapore: Elderly man again convicted of killing neighbour's cat after 14 years of jail

Reports said that Tan also pleaded guilty to an unrelated charge of receiving stolen property of S$6,950 from anonymous sources linked to a police impersonation scam.

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A bloodstained knife, as part of the evidence, is pictured outside the High Court as police carry it away after the double murder trial of British former banker Rurik Jutting in Hong Kong, China November 8, 2016. Reuters (Representational Image)

A 67-year-old man, who was released in 2010 after 14 years of jail for culpable homicide, was again charged with another killing on Tuesday. This time, he has been accused of killing his neighbour's cat.

Tan Pwee Sin pleaded guilty at the court to one count of animal cruelty, one count of criminal intimidation and one count of receiving stolen property.

According to reports, there were a series of disagreements between Tan and his neighbour, Muhammad Bakhtiyar Jaffar following which Tan killed Bakhtiyar's Russian Blue cat named Vamp, with a carving knife on Jan 30, 2017.

Bakhtiyar, who is a cleaner by profession, did not like Tan feeding Vamp as it was always too full to eat the "high-quality cat food" his owner bought him. Tan challenged Bakhtiyar to a fight, boasting that he had been to prison before for stabbing someone to death.

On Jan 29, Tan was about to feed his three cats by the front door of his flat at Spooner Road at about midnight when he saw Vamp mating with one of his cats. This sight made Tan extremely angry and he stamped his foot to scare the cat away. But, when he again saw Vamp mating with the cat, he couldn't control his anger.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Yang Ziliang told Chanel NewsAsia that Tan retrieved the carving knife from beside his front door, where he had stashed it "in case (Vamp's owner) came to his flat," and swung the knife at Vamp, slashing the cat's abdomen and exposing its intestines.

Another neighbour found Vamp at a staircase landing and informed both police and Bakhtiyar. The blood trails showed that Vamp had likely walked away from Tan's eighth-storey flat and down a staircase before it collapsed at the staircase landing between the seventh and eighth floors.

Although, the neighbour who found Vamp took the cat to Mount Pleasant Referral Clinic at Whitley Road for treatment, but the clinic refused to operate Vamp as Bakhtiyar could not afford to pay a S$2,000 deposit.

The court heard that the cat was treated at the clinic overnight and its abdomen was bandaged and not stitched up. However, a report prepared by the clinic had recommended "immediate surgery" and to "suture the laceration. Eventually, Vamp died the next day afternoon.

After about one and a half months of this incident, Bakhtiyar's 11-year-old nephew found Tan playing with Bakhtiyar's other cat and he politely asked Tan to give the cat back. But in response to this, Tan threatened him saying: "I don't scared, I will cut your neck and throw you downstairs from the building (sic)."

DPP Yang said that the threat was not lost on the boy as he was still coming out of Vamp's death. DPP Yang called for a preventive detention report, citing aggravating factors in the case.

"(Tan has) violent antecedents, but remains undeterred even after having served the longest possible term of incarceration – life imprisonment," the DPP told Channel NewsAsia.

A psychiatric report stated that Tan has anti-social personality traits, "characterised by a pervasive pattern of disregard and violation of the rights of others ... impulsivity and aggression, and reckless disregard for the safety of others."

The psychiatrists had pointed out that Tan's "threshold for anger" is low, and "he is likely to express his anger and attempt to regain control by resorting to weapons".

Reports said that Tan also pleaded guilty to an unrelated charge of receiving stolen property of S$6,950 from anonymous sources linked to a police impersonation scam. Tan will be sentenced on Sep 19 in the court.