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Singapore

Jail, caning for man who threw kitten down rubbish chute, robbed teen at knifepoint

Jail, caning for man who threw kitten down rubbish chute, robbed teen at knifepoint

Rico Wong Wei Wei at the State Courts. (Photo: TODAY/Nuria Ling)

SINGAPORE: To threaten his wife, a man threw a two-month-old kitten on the floor until it bled and later dumped it down a rubbish chute from the 11th floor.

A month later, he robbed a teenager of his phone while holding a karambit knife on a bus.

Rico Wong Wei Wei, 30, was on Thursday (Oct 22) given three years, six months and 10 weeks' jail and six strokes of the cane for these crimes.

He pleaded guilty to three charges of robbery with a deadly weapon, contravening a personal protection order against his wife by killing the kitten, and one count of animal cruelty. Another three charges were taken into consideration.

The court heard that Wong's wife obtained a personal protection order against him in January 2018, after a fight. Under the order, Wong was restrained from using violence against her.

On May 4 last year at about 3am, Wong quarrelled with his wife over financial issues. He returned to his room upset and angry, and a two-month-old kitten which he had picked up from a block in Woodlands went towards him.

He lost his temper and threw the kitten against the cupboard in the living room so that its head began bleeding.

He picked up the kitten and asked his wife to look at it, saying it was "because of you". He threw the kitten on the floor in front of his wife, saying: "If I can do this, you, I don't care."

His wife shook with fear when she saw what her husband had done to the kitten, which bled on the floor. The kitten stopped moving and Wong put it in the kitchen bin.

His wife remained awake for the rest of the night as she was afraid, and later took her children with her to her mother's house.

Wong later threw the bag containing the kitten down the 11th-floor flat's rubbish chute. The animal is now presumed dead.

Separately, he robbed a 17-year-old of his S$1,000 phone on Jun 25, 2019, along with S$500 cash. Wong had boarded a bus from Sembawang MRT station and gone to the upper deck, where the victim was seated.

Wong carefully concealed a curved karambit knife in his shirt so that the victim would see it without drawing the attention of other passengers. He then sat beside the teen, showing his knife to him, and asked for his phone.

The teenager eventually handed over his phone and S$500 in cash, and later made a police report.

HE IS RECALCITRANT: PROSECUTOR

The prosecutor asked for a sentence of four years and 10 weeks' jail and six strokes of the cane. The offence of robbery with a deadly weapon alone carries a mandatory minimum sentence of two years' jail and six strokes of the cane.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Daniel Ling said Wong is a recalcitrant offender with many previous convictions including snatch theft and robbery.

He also said stiff sentences are in line with policies to develop stronger measures against cruelty to animals, and called the ill-treatment of the kitten "unjustifiable, egregious and uncalled for".

Not only did Wong cause the kitten's head to bleed, he also threw it on the floor so that its blood spattered on the floor, before throwing it down the garbage chute.

While the kitten was not found, it is likely to have died when it was thrown down the chute. It had done no harm to Wong, who "vented his anger on the kitten over a dispute with his wife".

The offence against his wife was also conducted "in blatant disregard" of the personal protection order filed against him, said Mr Ling.

Defence lawyer Jonathan Wong said his client was "profoundly remorseful" and "painfully aware" of what the sentence will mean for himself and his wife and two children.

He said his wife is "committed to supporting him through this difficult period", and said the animal cruelty and arguments with his wife were consistent with a "period of difficulty" Wong had been going through.

"He's committed to making every effort to reshape his future, (with) his wife and his two young children being the primary, if not only, goal that he has going forward," said the lawyer.

Source: CNA/ll(cy)

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