Taiwanese independence advocate Chen Yi-ting (陳儀庭) yesterday vowed to sue National Civil Servant Association president Harry Lee (李來希) after Lee accused him of throwing a smoke bomb outside the Taipei Municipal Stadium on Saturday.
The Summer Universiade opening ceremony took place at the stadium on Saturday evening. Hundreds of pension reform opponents barricaded the stadium’s entrance where someone threw a smoke bomb at about 7pm.
Lee yesterday cited a report by the Chinese-language Apple Daily saying that Chen, who is a member of pro-independence groups the Republic of Taiwan and New National Front, was the perpetrator.
Having participated in the Sunflower movement in 2014, Chen, 33, was last year sentenced to 20 days in prison for burning the national flag.
Earlier last year, he was charged with vandalism for defacing a sculpture donated by Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan (成龍) to the National Palace Museum Southern Branch.
“If I had thrown the smoke bomb, I would have admitted it,” Chen said yesterday.
He said he was distributing “Republic of Taiwan” flags to passers-by at the intersection of Bade and Dunhua N roads near the stadium.
A photograph showing him and his friends was taken after they were escorted to a security zone by police, half an hour before the arrival of President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) motorcade at 6pm, Chen wrote on Facebook, adding that he left the area under police protection.
He said he later had dinner at a nearby Cantonese restaurant and returned home because his mobile phone battery had died.
Chen said he came to the stadium for one purpose only, which was “to cheer for Chinese Taipei players and to make Taiwan visible in an international event.”
“I support the people who want to express their opinions. As for the anti-pension reform protesters who dare not account for their own actions: You have caused me trouble and I will definitely collect evidence to sue you,” he said.
Chen said he hopes to turn public attention to the Games.
Apple Daily later apologized to Chen for the report.
Police yesterday said it has ruled out Chen’s involvement in the incident, as he was not present when the smoke bomb was thrown.
Judging from photographs and video footage, police said the smoke bomb might have been thrown by one of the pension reform protesters, but added that further investigation is needed to find the perpetrator.
Meanwhile, a group opposed to pension reform, the 800 Heroes, said it will not interfere with the Universiade.
“There are many anti-pension reform groups. It is not my place to comment on the actions of other groups, but 800 Heroes had already issued a statement on Wednesday saying that it will not interfere with the Games in any way,” retired lieutenant general and 800 Heroes spokesman Wu Sz-huai (吳斯懷) said.
“Politics is politics, sports is sports. This is a universal value and so the headquarters of 800 Heroes will not do anything to hinder the Games,” Wu said.
He said that other groups should not falsely claim any affiliation with 800 Heroes and they should take responsibility for their own actions.
“I do not support radical protests, but the government should reflect on why such things have happened, rather than issuing condemnations against the groups,” he said.
Additional reporting by Weng Yu-huang and Cheng Ching-yi
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