Former Taipei City Councilor given 5 months in jail for beheading statue of Japanese engineer

Lee Cheng-lung used a hacksaw to decapitate a statute of Japanese engineer Yoichi Hatta last year

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(By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – On March 8 the Tainan District Court punished the culprit, former Taipei city counselor Lee Cheng-lung (李承龍) with a five month jail sentence for vandalizing a bronze statue of Japanese engineer Yoichi Hatta last year, according to report by Liberty Times

His sentence, however, can be converted to a fine of NT$ 1000 per day and the case can also be appealed in higher courts by Lee.

On April 16 of last year, Lee confessed to the crime on his Facebook page where he mentioned he cut off the head of the statue and later turned himself into the Taipei Police Department, and he was later transferred to the custody of the Tainan Police Department, who took over the investigation.

Yoichi Hatta, also known as the "Father of the Chianan Irrigation System" was a Japanese engineer famous for his hydraulic engineering and was the designer of the Chianan Canal.

Hatta served as a hydraulic engineer for the Japanese government and stationed in Taiwan from 1910 to 1942, during which time he designed the Wushantou Water Reservoir and the Chianan Canal, which contributed immensely to the nation's agricultural development and modernization.

Hatta died on May 8, 1942, at the age of 56, when the ship he was on heading to Japan was blown up during the Pacific War.

Every year on May 8, the local Chianan Irrigation Association holds an annual memorial in honor of deceased engineer and his incredible contribution, which not only boosted agriculture in Taiwan but improved the lives of hundreds in the region.

The Association, as reported by the Liberty Times, plans to file another lawsuit against the Lee in order to seek compensation for the damage.

The report also suggested that the local committee and government have joined hands in an attempt to restore the statue but the head remains missing.