Suspected Yishun cat abuser charged in court

Lee Wai Leong was charged with Animal cruelty under s42(1)(d) of the Animals and Birds Act in the State Courts on Tuesday. Lee will be remanded at the Institute of Mental Health for assessment.
Melissa Zhu Channel NewsAsia 29 Dec 15;

SINGAPORE: An alleged cat abuser was charged in court on Tuesday (Dec 29) for his suspected involvement in a series of abuse cases in Yishun.

Lee Wai Leong was accused of throwing a male cat from the 13th floor of Block 115B, Yishun Ring Road, at about 10.29am on Oct 30. The cat died.

Lee was charged with animal cruelty under s42(1)(d) of the Animals and Birds Act in the State Courts on Tuesday. Deputy Public Prosecutor Lee Zu Zhao applied for Lee, who was not represented by a lawyer in court, to be remanded at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) for assessment.

The suspect, dressed in red, did not speak in the courtroom. His case will be next mentioned on Jan 12, and he will be remanded in IMH till then.

In a joint news release on Monday, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) and police said they received several reports of cats found injured or dead in the Yishun neighbourhood between September and December this year. At least 19 cats have been found dead or injured since September.

Police officers from the Ang Mo Kio Division assisted AVA in their investigations and established the suspect's identity. Lee was arrested by the police along Yishun Ring Road on Sunday.

Under the Animals and Birds Act, he could be fined up to S$15,000, jailed for up to 18 months, or both for the first offence if convicted. For second and subsequent offences, the maximum penalty is $30,000 or a jail term of up to 3 years, or both.

- CNA/es


Man, 40, arrested in connection with Yishun cat abuse cases
AVA says he was identified after enquiries on the ground, follow-up investigations
TOH EE MING Today Online 28 Dec 15;

SINGAPORE — The series of cat abuse cases in Yishun since September has seen a breakthrough, with a 40-year-old man due to be charged in court tomorrow for animal cruelty.

The suspect, believed to be a resident of Block 115B, Yishun Ring Road, was arrested on Sunday, said the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) and the police in a joint statement today (Dec 28).

Pinning down a suspect in the case has hitherto proven elusive despite animal welfare groups and volunteers chipping in to help with the authorities’ investigations.

Since Sept 24, there have been 17 reported incidents of cat abuse, ranging from strangulation, poisoning and severed limbs.

The AVA said today the suspect was identified after extensive on-ground enquiries and follow-up investigations with the police’s assistance.

TODAY understands surveillance camera footage was one of the leads in the case, while a volunteer with the Cat Welfare Society (CWS) had helped in identifying the man after he was arrested along Yishun Ring Road — an area where carcasses of several cats that were thrown from height had been found. Animal welfare groups had indicated the possibility of multiple culprits for the spate of cases. It is unclear if the authorities are looking for other suspects.

Under the Animals and Birds Act, anyone found guilty of animal cruelty can be fined up to S$15,000 and/or jailed up to 18 months for the first offence. For second and subsequent offences, the maximum penalty is S$30,000 or a jail term of up to three years, or both.

The news of a suspect being identified was met with relief by the Yishun residents interviewed.

Before the authorities’ joint statement today, many residents of Yishun Ring Road who were interviewed were on edge. While some issued pleas to stop the cat killings or took in strays out of fear, others speculated as to who the perpetrators could be.

Reacting to the news of the arrest, Ms Sabreena Nazim, 28, a writer, said: “I can finally sleep in peace now. When I saw photos of the cats killed, I almost cried because I thought it was the cat I was taking care of… It’s a sickening feeling, you get so frightened.” She had been taking walks in her neighbourhood at night to keep a lookout for the cats in the area, as well as sheltering some of them in her home.

While Ms Veron Lau, a CWS committee member, said the arrest has made “all our efforts worthwhile”, she said the group will continue with patrols in the town. “We’re trying our best to be as cautious as possible ... investigations are ongoing,” she added.

Agreeing, Mdm Janet Sum, who founded cat interest group Yishun 326 Tabby Cat, said that while she was “overjoyed” at the breakthrough, “we will continue to stay vigilant as we believe the killings are not the job of one man”. She also praised the efforts by the various parties so far. “The (volunteer) patrol team has worked hard, the community has been forthcoming, and AVA and the police have been very cooperative,” she added.

The CWS similarly praised the efforts by the authorities in this case, describing it as “a landmark protocol of cooperation between AVA and the police in handling animal cruelty cases” in a post in the comments section of this newspaper’s online article.

Member of Parliament (Nee Soon GRC) Louis Ng wrote on his Facebook page today that he is “delighted” there has been progress in the investigations, but urged those who have any more information on the episode to contact the AVA.

“I hope this sends out a strong message (of deterrence that) we will investigate and prosecute when it comes to animal cruelty… I don’t think we should close the case and think it’s over, but we should keep the work going,” the founder and executive director of Animal Concerns Research and Education Society told TODAY.


Yishun cat abuse cases: 40-year-old man arrested
Channel NewsAsia 28 Dec 15;

SINGAPORE: A 40-year-old man was arrested on Sunday (Dec 27) for suspected involvement in a series of cat abuse cases in Yishun.

In a joint news release on Monday, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) and police said they received several reports of cats found injured or dead in the Yishun neighbourhood between September and December this year. At least 19 cats have been found dead or injured since September.

Police officers from the Ang Mo Kio Division assisted AVA in their investigations and established the suspect's identity. He was arrested by the police along Yishun Ring Road on Sunday.

The man will be charged in court on Tuesday. If convicted, he could be fined up to S$15,000, jailed for up to 18 months, or both of the first offence. For second and subsequent offences, he could be fined up to S$30,000, jailed for up to three years, or both.

'WE HOPE PROTOCOL WILL CONTINUE'

The Cat Welfare Society (CWS) welcomed the news.

"We do hope that with new laws in place, they will map out a reasonable fine, and will not let (perpetrators of) a crime like this get off too easily," said CWS spokesperson Veron Lau.

Ms Lau added that CWS was heartened to see AVA and police working together to solve the case.

"This is a protocol that we hope will continue - that for animal cruelty cases, they will put in such resources and cooperation among agencies to crack the case," she said, adding that awareness has helped with placing pressure on agencies to get to the bottom of this case.

'COMMUNITY REALLY STEPPED FORWARD'

Nee Soon GRC MP Louis Ng also said he was "delighted" that there was progress in the investigation into the case.

"The important part is that we are sending a strong message that we are taking animal cruelty seriously. We're putting in resources to investigate, arrest and prosecute, and hope to send a deterrent message out to the public," Mr Ng told Channel NewsAsia.

Mr Ng added that the community played an important role in helping to patrol the area and create awareness of the issue.

"The police and AVA updated me regularly, and the community really stepped forward. I had people from Potong Pasir texting me (about the situation)," he said. "I always like to see the positive in the negative - the positive part was that the community got together to put an end to the killings."


Suspected cat killer charged in court; to be remanded at IMH
VALERIE KOH Today Online 29 Dec 15;

SINGAPORE — A 40-year-old man was charged in court today (Dec 29) for flinging a cat off a Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat.

According to court documents, Lee Wai Leong threw an adult male Mackerel Tabby domestic shorthair cat over the parapet of the 13th floor of 115B Yishun Ring Road, killing it. The incident allegedly took place at around 10.30am on Oct 30.

The small-built man, who was arrested along Yishun Ring Road on Sunday, faces one charge under the Animals and Birds Act. He will be remanded in the Institute of Mental Health for assessment and will return to court on Jan 12.

Since September, there have been 19 cases of cat abuse in Yishun, sparking fears among residents of a violent criminal on the loose. Carcasses have been found thrown from heights, strangled, and with blunt trauma to the head and back.

Under the Animals and Birds Act, anyone found guilty of animal cruelty can be fined up to S$15,000 and/or jailed up to 18 months, or both for the first offence. For second and subsequent offences, the maximum penalty is S$30,000 or a jail term of up to 3 years, or both.


Another cat found dead in Yishun
Today Online 30 Dec 15;

SINGAPORE — Yet another cat has been found dead in Yishun.

The body of a female cat was found at 3pm today (Dec 30) along Yishun Avenue 5, with blood visible on its ears and mouth, the Yishun 326 Tabby cat community said on Facebook, appealing for anyone with information to come forward.

The incident comes after a 40-year-old man believed to be involved in a series of cat abuse cases in Yishun between September and December this year was arrested and charged in Court earlier this week.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) is currently doing a post mortem to confirm whether the latest case is also one of abuse, said animal activist and Nee Soon GRC Member of Parliament Louis Ng on Facebook. "It is worrying if it is (another case of abuse)," Mr Ng said.

Cat Welfare Society committee member Veron Lau said today's case validated the group’s suspicions that more than one perpetrator was behind the cases. “It only goes to show that the police, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority and volunteers have a lot more to do,” she added.

On Facebook, Mr Ng also said he believed there was more than one cat killer. "I urge anyone with any further information about the cat killings to step forward (Contact AVA at: 1800-476-1600)," he posted. – ASHUTOSH RAVIKRISHNAN


Another dead cat found in Yishun: Volunteer group
The female cat was found dead at Block 734 Yishun Avenue 5, with "blood on the ears and mouth", says volunteer group Yishun 326 Tabby Cat.
Channel NewsAsia 30 Dec 15;

SINGAPORE: Another cat has been found dead in Yishun, said a group of volunteers who look after strays on Wednesday (Dec 30).

The dead animal was found at Block 734, Yishun Avenue 5, near the hard court grass verge at 3pm on Wednesday, said the Yishun 326 Tabby Cat group in a Facebook post.

"The cat had blood on the ears and mouth," the group said, adding that the female feline was a "big-sized tabby about 7kg in weight".

Since September, at least 19 other cats have been found dead or injured in Yishun.

A 40-year-old man was charged in court on Tuesday with animal cruelty, after he allegedly threw a cat from the 13th floor of Block 115B, Yishun Ring Road. The cat died.

"I understand that AVA is currently doing a post mortem to confirm whether this is a case of abuse," MP for Nee Soon GRC Louis Ng told Channel NewsAsia on Wednesday. "It is worrying that another cat has been found dead. I previously shared that it is good news that a suspect has been arrested but we should not let our guard down and remain vigilant."

Mr Ng added that the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) and the police are continuing their investigations into the deaths, and that the community is continuing to keep a look out.

The Cat Welfare Society (CWS) said the incident confirmed its suspicions that there is more than one culprit. Ms Veron Lau from CWS added that even after the arrest of the alleged cat abuser, CWS knew "the work is not done".

"People will still need to be vigilant, patrols will still carry on. We hope more people will want to join in to put an end to this," Ms Lau said.

- CNA/dl

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