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My understanding is that it literally means "that guy is like this", but I don't think I understand the connotation.

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    Any context you'd like to add?
    – user1478
    Sep 20, 2016 at 17:08
  • Whenever there's a こうだ、 これだ etc etc referring to a "this", the context is key.
    – ishikun
    Sep 20, 2016 at 17:10

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こんなヤツはこうだ!

Usually, it'd mean something like 「こんなヤツはこうしてやる!」 lit: "To someone like this, I'll do this!" (this would usually be something unfavorable, such as hitting, punching, smacking, etc...) You'd use this kind of phrase when giving someone お仕置き(a punishment).

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