TAIPEI: The brutal killing of a stray dog by soldiers has sparked an uproar in Taiwan, forcing the defence minister to issue a public apology and President Tsai Ing-wen to express concern in the midst of her first official overseas trip.
The furore erupted last weekend after Kaohsiung City Councillor Chen Hsin-yu posted a 80-second video on YouTube showing a white dog being beaten, dragged, then strangled to death, allegedly by soldiers based in Kaohsiung, a Taiwan news agency reported late on Monday (June 27).
The dog is shown in the clip perched precariously on what appears to be the edge of an embankment with a metal chain around its neck, the report said.
It dies after a painful struggle in which it tried, but failed, to climb up the embankment. A man, whose face was not shown on camera, is heard saying, "Little White, don't be a stupid dog in your next life."
After learning about the incident, Tsai, who is in Panama, condemned the "cruel" act and instructed the defence ministry and other government agencies to "handle the matter properly", Central News Agency reported.
The ministry announced later on Monday it had disciplined nine Navy personnel over the dog's killing, namely three military police who were involved in the killing, and six of their superior officers.
Sergeant Chen Yu-tsai, who allegedly ordered the killing, was given a major demerit, removed from his post and handed over to law enforcement authorities, Navy Command Headquarters spokesman Tsai Hung-tu told a press conference.
Similar penalties were meted out to the soldier who allegedly carried out the killing, Chang Feng-yu, while the third accomplice, Hu Chia-wei, was sentenced to a 10-day detention at base, Tsai said.
Defence Minister Feng Shih-kuan expressed his anger and regret over the incident and apologised to the public in a statement issued on Monday night.
But public outrage continued to grow. Some 72,000 people had reacted to the video reposted on the Facebook page of a popular whistle-blowing website as of Tuesday.
"Taxpayers' money is used to feed such beasts who are worse than animals," fumed a commentor by the name of Chen Tzu-ching.
A page that purported to organise a street march outside the Presidential Palace against the killing of Little White drew 180,000 would-be participants, United Daily News reported.
But the page has been taken down by Tuesday, with the organiser saying that it was merely a satirical gesture to mock "excessive sensationalism" he said was rampant in Taiwanese society, the report said. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network
Did you find this article insightful?