SINGAPORE - A recalcitrant offender was sentenced to seven years' preventive detention on Tuesday (Sept 26) for fatally slashing a neighbour's cat with a knife, threatening to kill the neighbour's nephew and dishonestly retaining stolen property.
Tan Pwee Sin, now 67, was been in and out of jail since 1983.
He was last released in 2010 after spending 14 years behind bars for culpable homicide not amounting to murder after killing a 79-year-old neighbour with a metal bar in 1996.
He pleaded guilty to his latest string of offences on Aug 29. Two counts of using insulting words on nurses at the Institute of Mental Health were taken into consideration.
Preventive detention is reserved for recalcitrant offenders and can last from seven to 20 years with no reduction for good behaviour.
Tan lived in a flat 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 resided in another unit several doors 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, decided to buy a carving knife with a 36cm-long blade on Nov 2 last year. He took the weapon home and placed it near his main door.
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, Mohamed Asri Mohamed Ismail, 35, and his wife, 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 the screaming and saw his badly injured cat. He alerted the police and Mr Asri took the cat to a vet. But it died the following day.
At first, Tan denied slashing the cat when officers questioned him.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Yang Ziliang said: "(Mr Bakhtiyar) went to the ground floor, opened the bin chute door and pulled out the rubbish container. He peered in and saw a long knife with a green handle wrapped in a blue towel."
He told the police about his discovery and Tan finally admitted to Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority investigators on Feb 7 that he had slashed the cat.
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 about what had happened.
When Mr Bakhtiyar knocked on Tan's door, the older man called the police, accusing the cleaner of "creating trouble". Officers later arrested Tan for criminal intimidation.
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.
Even though Tan informed the police about the scammers, he decided to keep the money.