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Who is the glamorous kitten killer of Hangzhou
Updated: 2006-03-04 14:12

China's media have launched a nationwide hunt for a glamorously dressed woman who has been photographed apparently crushing a kitten to death with her stiletto heels.

Gruesome pictures, which first appeared on a website, have been reproduced in recent days in many newspapers. In the first picture, the woman, wearing a cocktail dress with a leopard-print top and black skirt, caresses a tortoiseshell kitten lovingly. Then she puts it on the ground, looks at it - and lowers a stiletto heel on to its head.

The woman puts a kitten on the floor before apparently killing it

The subsequent images are graphic and deeply disturbing. The last photograph shows the woman staring into the distance with a questioning look on her face.

Reporters and amateur sleuths are now trying to find the woman, while media outlets have been flooded with readers' suggestions of what should be done to her.

The location for the sequence has been identified from a stretch of water in the background as being Hangzhou, a picturesque city south-west of Shanghai. A trace on the original website also led there, and the mystery woman has been dubbed "the kitten killer of Hangzhou".

Some newspapers then came up with a new twist - linking the pictures to an international community of animal sadists and fetishists. One website said the sequence was well-known in Japan, where it started life as an advertisement for a brand of stiletto shoes, and identified the woman as a model.

But attention returned to China when an internet surfer came across a 37-year-old woman from Hubei province with the internet identity "Gainmas". She had registered a website in Hangzhou and - the ultimate evidence - had bought a pair of stilettoes on eBay last year.

She was also registered with QQ, a popular Chinese message service, where she wrote of herself: "I furiously crush everything to do with you and me."

Before her QQ address went dead, its owner had several conversations. In one, she is coy, saying "So what?" when asked if the pictures are of her, and then, when asked again, replying: "In theory."

When confronted by a reporter, she became defensive, saying: "Suddenly hundreds of people are on my QQ and cursing me. What's the problem if I crush cats? It's a type of experience. You wouldn't understand."

He Yong, a Beijing representative of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, said the angry response to the pictures had been heartening.

"We are still trying to confirm who it is in the pictures and where it is," he said. "The embarrassing thing is that there are no available laws in China governing this type of misbehaviour.

"We are trying to draft an open letter to the authorities asking for the possibility of creating an animal welfare law."


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