Sunday Times 20071104: Serial cat abuser arrested again

Coverage on the 3rd David Hooi arrest in the Sunday Times. It says incorrectly that “CONVICTED serial cat abuser David Hooi, who was recently released after a year-long jail term, has been arrested again”. Hooi DID NOT serve the full jail-term. He was released on good-behaviour sometime in March/April.

The Sunday Times
Nov 4, 2007

Serial cat abuser arrested again

Neighbours who formed a watch group to keep tabs on the man found a kitten with a missing eye on his doorstep and alerted police
By Jamie Ee Wen Wei

[missing inset: David Hooi’s photo]

[missing inset: Gropu photo of the civic-minded neighbours]
SUSPECTED OF ABUSING a kitten again, Hooi (above) lives alone in a one-room flat in Bedok North. After his first conviction in March last year, his neighbours banded together to watch him more closely. In picture at left, Mr Abdul Rahim (back row, left) is seen here with other members of the watch group and Ms Sandy Lim of SOS Animals, a non-profit animal welfare group. — ST PHOTO: DESMOND LIM

CONVICTED serial cat abuser David Hooi, who was recently released after a year-long jail term, has been arrested again.

Hooi, 44, was arrested on Wednesday night on suspicion of abusing a kitten – his third time in 11/2 years for such an offence.

The bachelor, who does odd jobs, lives alone in a one-room flat in Bedok North. His mother visits him occasionally.

Hooi had also been convicted of seven thefts since 1978. In 1990, he was given five years’ corrective training for mischief by fire, and six years later, he was sentenced to seven years’ preventive detention for mischief and theft.

He was convicted twice last year for cat abuse – he got a three-month jail term the first time, and the maximum 12 months for the second.

After Hooi’s first conviction in March last year, his neighbours banded together to watch him more closely after he was released from prison. At least 12 residents in the same block, most of them living on the same floor as him, formed an informal network to inform one another of his movements.

At the mere sound of footsteps in the corridor, residents living on the 11th storey of Block 544 would poke their heads out of their doors to see if he was taking any cats home with him.

Whenever someone saw Hooi with a cat, they would call his neighbour, Mr Abdul Rahim, who would then alert the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) or call the police.

On October 25, Mr Abdul said he saw Hooi return home at around 8.30pm with a black and white kitten in his arms. The 58-year-old confronted him and demanded that he release the cat.

But Hooi pleaded with him to let him keep it as he wanted it as his pet.

Mr Abdul, a cat lover, said: ‘One of my neighbours came out and told me to give him a chance so I just warned him to treat the cat nicely.’

The next morning, Mr Abdul heard a kitten meowing pitifully in the corridor. The security officer found it in front of Hooi’s door and identified it as the same one from the previous night but it had lost its right eye.

He called the police who investigated and arrested Hooi on Wednesday night.

Mr Abdul was one of the most active members of this group of volunteers who were keeping tabs on Hooi. He even took a week’s leave to monitor his neighbour’s movements.

Mr Abdul would also wake up at 2am on some nights to check that Hooi was asleep. If he did not see his neighbour’s sandals outside his front door, Mr Abdul would rouse three other neighbours and they would go in search of Hooi.

On at least five occasions, they caught Hooi with cats in the vicinity. Neighbours said he used a stick to poke at bushes to look for cats. His fetish, it seems, is kittens or young cats.

One neighbour, who gave his name only as Mr Teo, defended Hooi, saying he liked cats, but was mentally unsound.

In his previous court cases, Hooi has been diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder.

SPCA executive officer Deirdre Moss said Hooi’s case was ‘unique’ because of his disorder.

As for Hooi’s neighbours, having a common goal of preventing cat abuses in their neighbourhood has helped them bond.

One of the group members, retiree Lim Siew Eng, 60, said: ‘At first, we didn’t even know one another. Now, we are good neighbours.’

[missing inset: box with details on David Hooi’s previous convictions]

One response to “Sunday Times 20071104: Serial cat abuser arrested again

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