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Sir Robert Anderson
Chief Inspector
Username: Sirrobert

Post Number: 574
Registered: 2-2003
Posted on Friday, October 28, 2005 - 10:15 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

There was a big story on the front page of yesterday's Wall Street Journal about this serial killer of dogs in Hong Kong. Apparently he or she has been at it for a long time.

Monday, Mar. 18, 2002
The Killer Among Us
A deadly serial poisoner in Hong Kong has eluded police for more than a decade

The 12-character message, spray-painted in red and composed in Chinese, is chilling: The time has not yet come/ Not that there will be no vengeance/ Evil deeds bring evil ends.

The threatening graffito discovered late January on a concrete wall along Hong Kong's Bowen Road is the latest twist in a bizarre string of poisonings that has terrorized the city for 13 years. The leafy pedestrian walk running through the affluent Mid-Levels neighborhood is the epicenter of a spree that has claimed over 20 dead and made at least 100 seriously ill. Despite community uproar, heightened police patrols and the aid of an international expert, the killer's trail remains cold. A key reason, say critics, is that the victims are dogs.

Details have emerged slowly. Although the poisonings began in 1989, it wasn't until 1995 that police took notice. Soon it became clear they were dealing with a calculating serial killer, a Jack the Ripper of the canine world. That's why Chief Inspector Richard Skinner thinks the recent scrawling is a hoax, the work of a copycat. Skinner believes the real killer is not a publicity seeker, but someone wreaking methodical revenge on specific targets. "I don't think it's a lunatic just walking around wanting to kill dogs for the sake of it," Skinner says. "The person doing it believes it is for a purpose."

The death the killer delivers is gruesome. The poison—a few spoonfuls of purple crystal granules of carbofuran, an insecticide, mixed with chicken or duck meat—acts fast, attacking the nervous system much like sarin gas. In minutes, the dogs are drooling and their muscles begin to twitch. Within an hour, they are violently convulsing. If the poison cannot be expunged, they die of shock and respiratory failure. "They are absolutely frantic," says veterinarian Lloyd Kenda. "I'd rather never see another case again."

As the killer's toll rises, so do demands for justice. The pets of rich, poor, Chinese and Westerners have all been victims, and in a city not known for community activism, public outrage toward the faceless killer has been vented in letters to newspaper editors, community meetings and Internet chat rooms. Dog owners, represented by the SPCA, are the most disgruntled about the lack of police progress. Executive director Chris Hanselman wants to form a group to patrol the area. "I hate to use the term vigilante," he says. "We want to catch him and put him away."

Not that the police want anything less, but they say they need a witness who could make a positive ID. In 1995 they almost had one. Around 6 a.m. on a clear spring day, lawyer Jonathan Midgely was walking his two dogs in the Bowen Road vicinity when he saw a Chinese man in his mid-30s scattering food. The man had thinning hair brushed forward and an unusually round face, wore blue cotton work clothes and spoke passable English. The two men exchanged greetings. The man was "a bit strange," Midgely says, "not ominously strange, just as if he were a bit wacky." He carried a red plastic bag containing a trowel and bits of chicken that he claimed were for feeding the birds and dogs.

Minutes after they parted, one of Midgely's dogs, Ruth, started to shake and vomit. Luckily, he got her to a vet in time. Although Ruth's poisoning wasn't the first reported, police judged the case a low priority. That changed two years later when Whisky, one of then Governor Chris Patten's Norfolk terriers, was poisoned (but survived). Police belatedly called Midgely in to help with a composite sketch of the suspect and later had him try to spot the man among passersby on Bowen Road.

The serial dog poisonings have become a topic of obsessive speculation. Last year, Hong Kong University sociology postgraduates used the case in a criminal behavior course. Even a Swedish animal law expert, Helena Striwing, has become involved. She suggests the killer's target is not dogs. "He wants to hurt people," she says. "He is motivated to target and hurt the dog owners for some reason, to create misery." To that end, police offer a more prosaic premise. According to Skinner, the killer is likely annoyed by dog droppings along the footpath. "It's more probably a revenge thing," he says. "Basically, the rationale would be: 'If you're going to foul the path, then I'm going to kill the dogs.'"

From TIME Asia Magazine, issue dated MARCH 25, 2002 / VOL. 159 NO. 11

Sir Robert

'Tempus Omnia Revelat'
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Sir Robert Anderson
Chief Inspector
Username: Sirrobert

Post Number: 575
Registered: 2-2003
Posted on Friday, October 28, 2005 - 10:25 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

And here's the WSJ story....

On a Hong Kong Trail,
A Serial Dog Slayer
Terrorizes Pet Owners

Canine Hater Uses Poison Bait,
Manages to Dodge Law;
Caspar's Last Moments
October 26, 2005; Page A1

HONG KONG -- After a morning downpour in April, a calculating killer laid his bait: bony, cooked chicken laced with purple crystals of a particularly deadly insecticide.

The trap, placed along a popular walking trail, soon claimed a victim. Within an hour of ingesting the poisoned meat, a 2-year-old black Labrador retriever went into convulsions and died. Hours later, another black Lab met the same fate. And two days later, a third dog was felled by a fresh application of the same poison in the same area.

"It was horrible. You feel helpless," said Cath Hopkins, whose dog Caspar was one of the dogs killed.

The canine carnage marked the alarming return of Hong Kong's longest-running serial killer after a six-month hiatus. The Bowen Road dog slayer, named after the walking trail in an affluent neighborhood where he has poisoned dozens of victims, has eluded the law for more than a decade.

Just a few miles north of here, in China's Guangzhou province, dogs frequently appear on menus. In rural areas of Hong Kong, stray dogs are periodically poisoned as payback for attacking locals or for just being a nuisance. But Bowen Road attracts the upper crust of Hong Kong's dogs. Their doting owners are bankers and lawyers, frequently expatriates. At least 38 well-bred and finely groomed dogs have died, according to the police, and about 60 other pet dogs, from Dalmatians to Rottweilers, have fallen seriously ill. Hong Kong's former governor Chris Patten nearly lost Whisky, one of his two Norfolk terriers, in 1997.

Police believe a single male is responsible for the attacks, but have made little progress cracking the case. Patrols were stepped up after Whisky's close call. Three years later, after another spate of killings, a Swedish pet detective was brought in. Hotline numbers were set up, a $6,400 reward was offered. Recently, plainclothes cops have staked out the area. But the killer has dodged it all.

Like most serial killers, this one has his pattern. The bait and location are always the same -- several handfuls of the poisoned chicken deposited at points where dogs roam on two winding walking paths in a high-end section of Hong Kong. The same poison is used: an insecticide available in Hong Kong flower shops that can take down an average-sized dog in an hour.

Jonathan Midgley is the only person to come forward with a description of the presumed killer. One morning 10 years ago, Mr. Midgley, a criminal lawyer, was walking his two dogs along Black's Link when he passed a Chinese man with an "extraordinarily round face." Tossing meat from a little pink bag, the man complimented Mr. Midgley's dogs before walking out of sight. Minutes later, Mr. Midgley's chow-mongrel Ruth started shaking and vomiting from ingesting the poisoned bait. The lawyer rushed Ruth to a veterinary clinic and she survived. But to this day, Mr. Midgley still frets that he should have tried to catch the man.

Dog owners have had enough. A group of more than 60 is trying to coordinate with the police and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to stop the killings. The group of dog walkers gathers on weekend afternoons at a grassy amphitheater park in Hong Kong's Happy Valley neighborhood. After one of the dogs was nearly poisoned, they sprang into action.

"The community still needs to be advised in a big and bold way," said Cristina Rodenbeck, one of the founders of "The Happy Valley Dog Guardians and Dog Lovers Community," who has lived in Hong Kong for nearly seven years selling Brazilian fashions. "For me, this is some serious stuff. It's the same as trying to kill a human being."

The case has been assigned to the police department's high-profile regional crime unit, which usually handles homicides and organized crime, in an attempt to stop the killer once and for all.

The department has adopted a data-driven approach to the sleuthing and says statistical analysis of the time, date and location of the attacks has yielded some clues, but as yet the police have only a vague profile -- and a sketch -- of the killer: a middle-aged Chinese man who speaks English and is motivated by a hatred for dogs.

The killer is likely to live in the densely populated, working-class Wan Chai neighborhood, where at any ordinary florist he can purchase his poison, Carbofuran. Selling the pesticide in granular form was banned in the U.S. 11 years ago after it had been linked to the deaths of millions of birds.

The killer is believed to join dozens of early morning walkers who daily ascend a steep path from Wan Chai to the top of Hong Kong's hilly ridge. The killer favors laying his bait around dawn on Thursdays and Fridays at the end of the month, according to police posters hung loosely along railings on the paths. Recently, the police have adopted a disturbing hypothesis: Some of the other walkers may silently endorse the killer.

On a recent morning just after sunrise, about three dozen mostly graying retirees walked along Black's Link path -- none of them with dogs. Some stopped to do exercises by vistas of Hong Kong's harbor and listen to the radio.

An elderly woman who gave her name only as Sung said she has enjoyed dawn walks along the paths for more than two decades. When asked about the dog killer, a disgusted grimace passed her wrinkled face. She pointed to the bottom of her flat-soled walking shoes and said: "Dirty." Many of the domestic helpers who walk their employers' dogs don't clean up after them, she says. Now, thanks to the killer, it's not such a problem.

That attitude horrifies the dog lovers' association, veterinarians and, most of all, owners of the victims. Ms. Hopkins says she was beside herself for two weeks after her dog succumbed to the killer's bait. "If I get my hands on him -- if it's a he -- if he was caught and put together with many of the dog owners, there wouldn't be much left to punish," the 41-year-old chemistry teacher says.

Ms. Hopkins recalls the afternoon well. It had rained, and she chose the paved Black's Link instead of a park. A few yards into the path, she let Caspar off the leash.

The 2-year-old Lab bounded up the slope and stopped along the wooded left side of the path. As Ms. Hopkins caught up, she found the dog munching on chicken wings and thighs covered in purple crystals.

Knowing he was in trouble but not knowing how bad, she walked him 10 minutes back to her car. Caspar's gait was already affected, he was burning up and suffering from diarrhea. It took another 10 minutes to drive down to a veterinary clinic. Upon arrival, Caspar was having convulsions. The dog was put on a ventilator as the vets tried to massage the fluid out of his lungs, but there was nothing to be done. "He was dead within an hour. You don't appreciate how quickly it can act," says Ms. Hopkins.

Sir Robert

'Tempus Omnia Revelat'
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Chief Inspector
Username: Diana

Post Number: 844
Registered: 2-2003
Posted on Saturday, October 29, 2005 - 9:47 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

This yoyo is dangerous. It may be that eventually he will graduate to people.
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Sir Robert Anderson
Chief Inspector
Username: Sirrobert

Post Number: 578
Registered: 2-2003
Posted on Monday, October 31, 2005 - 11:39 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The graffito is even parsed like the Goulston Street Graffito....

"The time has not yet come/ Not that there will be no vengeance/ Evil deeds bring evil ends. "

What's up with serial killers and double negatives ?

Sir Robert

'Tempus Omnia Revelat'

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