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[Newsmaker] Public outcry grows over group killing, torturing stray cats

Screenshot of the video showing a cat in a steel cage (Yonhap)
Screenshot of the video showing a cat in a steel cage (Yonhap)
Public outrage is growing in South Korea over a group of people shown brutally killing and torturing stray cats in videos and then encouraging such acts in a mobile chat room, leading the police to launch an investigation into the case Monday.

In an open online chat room named “Gore Professionals” on the country’s top messenger app, KakaoTalk, anonymous users reportedly shared pictures and videos that showed stray cats being brutally killed and tortured. They also reportedly shared information about how to capture, kill and dismember cats.

A petition posted on the presidential office’s website Jan. 7, calling for a probe into the chat room and due punishment for those involved, had garnered nearly 220,000 signatures as of 1 p.m. Tuesday.

“They were the devils who shoot an arrow at a cat to kill it just because they hate hearing the cats crying, breaking the cats’ skulls and displaying them at home, take pictures (of the cats being killed), brag about them and find joy,” the petitioner said. “Doing that to poor stray cats, is that something human beings would do? Please isolate such devils from society.”

The presidential office’s officials must state their position on any petition that collects 200,000 signatures or more.

According to a screenshot of the group chat conversation, which is spreading on social media, one user claimed to have killed a cat with an arrow because the person hated the sound of the cat’s crying.

In one of the videos, aired by public broadcaster KBS, a black cat was seen struggling to escape from a steel cage while someone kicks the cage and giggles.

The Seongdong Police Station in Seoul is working to identify the chat participants after the Korean Animal Welfare Association filed a complaint with the police.

Under the Animal Protection Act, anyone who hurts or kills animals without a justifiable reason can face up to two years in prison and a fine of 20 million won ($18,142).

The chat room is no longer accessible.

By Ock Hyun-ju (laeticia.ock@heraldcorp.com)
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