A man in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong has been detained after he allegedly threatened to torture adopted cats to blackmail their former owners for nude photos and money.
A woman, surnamed Jiang, went online early this month to put a one-month-old stray cat up for adoption, and accepted an offer by a man who claimed to have experience taking care of kittens, according to a report by Chinese news outlet Thecover.cn.
But after she sent the cat to the man, on Sept. 5, the man messaged her threatening to kill the cat unless she provided nude photos with her face showing, the report said. After she refused, the man asked for 300 Chinese yuan ($47) and demanded Jiang send over the two adult cats she was keeping.
Cases of animal abuse have prompted public outrage in China, where pet ownership is on the rise. The country does not have a national law on animal cruelty. Abusers often go unpunished, although some accused of cruelty have been dismissed by their schools or employers.
Past media reports have also exposed how abusers collected cats by posing as adopters online. Some of the abusers then shared or sold videos of cat torture in online chatrooms.
Jiang reported her case to police and shared her experience in an animal rescue chat group, where several men said they were victimized by the same man who took Jiang’s cat.
It’s not unclear if the men were also asked to provide their nudes, but one said he received videos showing his cat being tortured after he refused to provide the $155 as requested by the man.
The man was taken away by police on Sept. 7 on suspicion of extortion, Jiang said. Police in the southern city of Dongguan this week confirmed the man had been detained, Thecover.cn reported.
Jiang said police told her the next day that several cats the man obtained in the name of adoption, including the stray she provided, were found dead. Police also found “obscene” photos and videos in the man’s smartphone, according to Jiang.
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