"Don't count your chickens before they hatch,'' - This was literally the case for an individual in China who could not count his chickens as they had been literally frightened to death by his neighbour.
A peculiar legal case has recently been covered by China's state-owned media, in which a man with the surname Gu was convicted and sentenced to prison for frightening 1,100 chickens owned by a neighbor he had a dispute with, reported CNN. According to reports, the dispute between Gu and his neighbor Zhong had been ongoing since April 2022 when Zhong cut down Gu's trees without permission.
During the court proceedings in Hengyang county of Hunan province in central China, it was revealed that Gu retaliated by trespassing onto Zhong's chicken farm on multiple occasions under the cover of night.
It remains uncertain what Gu's intentions were, but the flashlight he used during his trespass caused the flock of chickens to become panicked. The resulting commotion led to hundreds of chickens being crushed to death as they huddled together in a corner out of fear.
On Gu's first unauthorised visit to his neighbor's farm, he caused a crush in which 500 chickens perished. He was subsequently apprehended by the police and was ordered to pay 3,000 yuan ($436) in compensation to Zhong.
Despite his previous conviction and compensation payment, Gu continued to seek revenge and trespassed on Zhong's property a second time, resulting in the death of 640 additional chickens.
This Tuesday (April 4), the Hengyang court delivered its verdict, stating that Gu had deliberately caused "property loss" to Zhong.
According to Chinese authorities, the 1,100 chickens that died were estimated to have a total value of 13,840 yuan ($2,015).
The court sentenced Gu to six months in prison, along with one year of probation. The sentence was reportedly based on the level of remorse Gu had shown for his crime.