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Ex-Taipei city councilor admits to vandalizing Yoichi Hatta statue

2017/04/17 18:16:59

(Downloaded from Lee Cheng-lung's Facebook page)

Taipei, April 17 (CNA) A former Taipei city councilor has turned himself in for vandalizing a statue of Yoichi Hatta, the Japanese hydraulic engineer who planned and oversaw the construction of the Wushantou Reservoir in Tainan, police said Monday.

Lee Cheng-lung (李承龍), 60, went to Zhongzheng First Precinct of the Taipei City Police Department on Monday to confess to the act after revealing on his Facebook page that he was the one who removed the head of the statute.

The confession drew Tainan police to Taipei to get Lee's statement. The officers in charge of the case confirmed that Lee is suspected of the act of vandalism.

After being questioned, Lee was taken to Tainan, where he will have to answer more questions related to the case, the police said.

Neither Lee nor the police offered any reason why Lee committed the act.

Lee served on the Taipei City Council from 1994 to 1998 as a member of the New Party, and he has been known as an activist who pushes an agenda favoring unification with China.

Now a member of the Chinese Unionist Party, he was suspected of committing arson and vandalizing the headquarters of the Taiwan Civil Government -- a Taiwan independence advocacy group -- in Taoyuan last year.

While Lee's ideology may have had a role in the crime, it was not clear why he chose to go after the head of the Yoichi Hatta statue, which was found to be missing on Sunday.

The statue is located in front of the tomb of Hatta and his wife at Wushantou Reservoir Scenic Park, and the act drew the attention of local authorities, with Tainan Mayor Lai Ching-te (賴清德) directing police to find the culprit.

Hatta, born in Ishikawa Prefecture of Japan in 1886, designed the Chianan Canal and the Wushantou Reservoir when Taiwan was under Japanese colonial rule (1895-1945). The two projects were recognized as making possible agricultural irrigation in the vast Chianan Plain.

The bronze statue was built in 1931 to commemorate the engineer's contribution one year after the completion of the canal, the largest water irrigation project in Taiwan.

(By Yu Kai-hsiang and Elizabeth Hsu)
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