Cat killer gets seven years' preventive detention

Tan Pwee Sin fatally slashed a neighbour's cat and also threatened to kill the neighbour's nephew.
Tan Pwee Sin fatally slashed a neighbour's cat and also threatened to kill the neighbour's nephew.

He has been in and out of jail since 1983. Tan Pwee Sin, now 67, was last released in 2010 after spending 14 years behind bars for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

He had killed a 79-year-old neighbour with a metal bar in 1996.

But Tan continued to run afoul of the law. Yesterday, he was sentenced to seven years' preventive detention for fatally slashing a neighbour's cat with a knife, threatening to kill the neighbour's nephew, and dishonestly retaining stolen property.

Preventive detention is reserved for recalcitrant offenders and can last from seven to 20 years, with no reduction for good behaviour.

Tan pleaded guilty on Aug 29 to his latest string of offences.

He lived on the eighth storey of a block in Spooner Road, near Jalan Bukit Merah, and reportedly could not get along with cleaner Muhammad Bakhtiyar Jaffar, who lived several units away.

Mr Bakhtiyar, 31, owned two russian blue cats - a male and a female - and was unhappy that Tan had fed his pets without permission.

Tan, who owned three cats, bought a carving knife with a 36cm-long blade on Nov 2 last year. He placed it near his main door, in case Mr Bakhtiyar went to his flat.

On Jan 29 this year, he opened his door and saw Mr Bakhtiyar's male cat mating with one of his pets. He flew into a rage, retrieved the knife and slashed the cat's abdomen.

Their neighbours were walking home when they saw the cat lying in a pool of blood at a staircase landing.

Mr Bakhtiyar rushed out of his flat when he heard screaming and saw his badly injured cat.

He alerted the police and the cat was taken to a vet. It died the following day.

The court heard that about a month later, on March 10, Mr Bakhtiyar's 11-year-old nephew spotted Tan playing with the female russian blue cat.

Tan got angry when the boy retrieved the cat, and told him: "I will cut your neck and throw you downstairs from the building."

The terrified boy ran off and told his uncle what had happened.

Tan also dishonestly retained stolen property amounting to $6,950 in cash on Oct 10 last year.

Fraudsters from a police impersonation scam had earlier duped him into allowing them to use his bank account to receive their ill-gotten gains. Although Tan informed the police about the scammers, he decided to keep the money.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 27, 2017, with the headline 'Cat killer gets seven years' preventive detention'. Print Edition | Subscribe