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Century-old lion-dog statue destroyed by ex-councilor

Former Taipei City councilor Lee Cheng-lung vandalizes another Japanese colonial period artifact.

Century-old stone stone lion-dog statue at Yixian Elementary School destroyed by former Taipei City Councilor Lee Cheng-lung.

Century-old stone stone lion-dog statue at Yixian Elementary School destroyed by former Taipei City Councilor Lee Cheng-lung. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News)—A century old Japanese stone lion-dog statue, erected in front of Yixian Elementary School (逸仙國小) in Beitou District of Taipei City, was vandalized by former Taipei City Councilor Lee Cheng-lung (李承龍), who beheaded the bronze statue of Japanese civilian engineer Yoichi Hatta near Wutou Reservoir earlier this year.

The 59-year-old Lee and 50-year-old female accomplice Chiu Chin-wei (邱晉芛) destroyed the century old Japanese stone lion-dog statue known as komainu (狛犬) with a hammer, and livestreamed the damage on Facebook.

During the livestream, Lee read out the historical background of the komainu, and hammered the statue several times.

Chiu then followed suit and caused further damage to the statue, she frantically screamed “Yes,“ while hammering the stone statue.

The two only stopped vandalizing the statue and livestream after they were apprehended by police.

The komainu statue left behind from Taiwan’s 50-year Japanese colonization era was excavated at the school ten years ago during renovations and was left to guard the school entrance since.

In Japanese culture, a pair of stone-lions is typically left to guard the entrance of Shinto Temples.

After being caught by police, Chiu and Lee restarted the livestream to explain the reasons behind destroying the statue.

According to Chiu, she found the statue to be eerie and unreasonable, so she decided to help the Republic of China (ROC) government dispose garbage left behind by Imperial Japan.

She justified the statue’s destruction claiming they were not burning any buildings or committing murder, but were simply removing trash left behind by the Japanese colonizers.

Lee claimed the stone komainus were erected to guard the spirits of Japanese soldiers that perished during World War II, and were “ghostly beasts.”

Lee inquired during the Facebook livestream, why should Taiwanese allow these "ghostly beasts" to guard the future owners of our nation, and the bronze statue of Sun Yat-sen (孫中山), who is considered the founding father of the Republic of China?

By letting the ghostly beasts guard future generations and the founding father, “we are ruining our nation's fengshui,” said Lee.

Despite facing potential charges from the historical artifact’s rightful owner, Chiu and Lee, who already hold a criminal record for vandalizing Hatta’s statue in April, showed no remorse over their actions in the livestream, appearing calm and smiling during the disembodiment of the komainu’s legs.