The brutal killing of a stray dog by soldiers has sparked an uproar in Taiwan, forcing the Defence Minister to issue a public apology and President Tsai Ing-wen to express concern in the midst of her first official overseas trip.
The furore erupted last weekend after Kaohsiung City Councillor Chen Hsin-yu posted an 80-second video on YouTube showing a white dog being beaten, dragged, and then strangled to death, allegedly by soldiers based in the city, the Central News Agency reported late on Monday.
The clip shows the dog perched precariously on what appears to be the edge of an embankment with a metal chain around its neck, the report said.
It died after a painful struggle in which it tried, but failed, to climb up the embankment.
A man, whose face is not seen on camera, is heard saying: "Xiao Bai (Little White), don't be a stupid dog in your next life."
After learning about the incident, Ms Tsai, who was in Panama, condemned the "cruel" act and instructed the Defence Ministry and other government agencies to "handle the matter properly".
The ministry announced later on Monday that it had disciplined nine navy personnel - three military policemen who were involved in the killing and six of their superior officers.
Sergeant Chen Yu-tsai, who allegedly ordered the killing, was given a major demerit, removed from his post and handed over to the law enforcement authorities, Navy Command Headquarters spokesman Tsai Hung-tu told a press conference.
Similar penalties were meted out to soldier Chang Feng-yu who allegedly carried out the killing, while the third accomplice, Hu Chia-wei, was sentenced to a 10-day detention at base.
Defence Minister Feng Shih- kuan expressed his anger and regret over the incident and apologised to the public in a statement issued on Monday night.
But public outrage continued. Some 72,000 people had reacted to the video reposted on the Facebook page of a popular whistle- blowing website as of yesterday.