UPDATE: Serial tree killer captured after concerted manhunt
A collective sigh of relief came from Taiwan as police captured the notorious serial tree killer after a regional manhunt. By the time the culprit was arrested, there were already over 500 tree victims.
Previously when we first reported the news, almost 300 trees had already been hacked and chopped by a midnight assailant who was shown on security cameras hacking away at the trees with an ax. Among the tree victims were two especially valuable old trees, including a 130-year old Banyan tree treasured as a heavenly spirit by the local residents. Some of the trees were so severely wounded that tree experts said they would not survive.
The City of Tainan police established a special unit to track down the assailant and were able to capture Mr. Shao within a week. Shao is a 49-year old single, unemployed engineer with a prior burglary record. Police also found the purchase receipt for the ax at Shao's residence.
Shao said he had been very frustrated after a series of arguments with a neighbor. He could not sleep and decided to blow off steam on the trees. While he was walking in a park, he started to hit the trees with his hands and feet, but only caused pain to himself. He then decided to buy an ax to hack the trees. He started with the nearby park and continued with multiple outings to other areas. He couldn't even remember how many times he had committed the offenses. The investigation was still continuing at the time of reporting.