Fri, Mar 09, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Statue’s beheading punished with five months in prison

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

China Unification Promotion Party member Lee Cheng-lung uses a hacksaw to decapitate a statute of Japanese engineer Yoichi Hatta in Tainan on Apr. 15 last year.

Photo: Screen grab from Facebook

The Tainan District Court yesterday sentenced China Unification Promotion Party member Lee Cheng-lung (李承龍) to five months in prison for decapitating a bronze statue of Japanese engineer Yoichi Hatta in Tainan with a hacksaw on April 15 last year.

Lee and co-defendent Chiu Chin-wei (邱晉芛) were convicted of damaging the property of others, and Chiu was sentenced to four months in prison.

However, their prison terms can be converted to a fine, calculated at NT$1,000 per day.

They can also appeal the ruling.

The statue of Hatta is in the Yoichi Hatta Memorial Park near the Wushantou Reservoir (烏山頭水庫).

Hatta is known as the “Father of Chianan Irrigation System” for his planning and construction of irrigation canals and water reservoirs in southern Taiwan’s Chianan Plain (嘉南平原) in the 1920s, which boosted agricultural output and improved the lives of the region’s residents.

On the anniversary of Hatta’s death on May 8, 1940, the Chia-Nan Irrigation Association holds an annual memorial to honor his work in turning the Chianan Plain into Taiwan’s rice bowl.

Association officials said they have filed a civil lawsuit against Lee and Chiu to seek financial compensation for the damage done to the statue.

The Tainan City Government received assistance from local groups and associations for repairs to the statue, but its head has not been found.

It was allegedly dumped into the reservoir.

The attack on Hatta’s statue was not the first time that Lee has gotten into trouble for vandalizing monuments or historic relics.

He is known for advocating unification with China and campaigning against a distinct Taiwanese cultural and national identity.

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