Woman vandalizes memorial of late Taiwan president Lee Teng-hui

Portrait of Taiwan's first democratically elected president hit by paint-filled balloon on day of his funeral

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Memorial of former Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui at Taipei Guest House 

Memorial of former Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui at Taipei Guest House  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The memorial for late President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) in Taipei was reportedly vandalized on Friday (Aug. 14), the day of Lee's funeral, when a woman splashed red paint on his portrait.

The suspect, a woman in black, vandalized the interior of a prayer room at the memorial Friday morning, lobbing a balloon filled with red paint at Lee’s portrait. The woman was immediately detained by the police, who found her to be carrying several of the paint-filled balloons, reports said.

Reports suggest that the offender could be retired entertainer Cheng Hui-chung (鄭惠中), who also slapped then-Culture Minister Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) on the face last year during a dinner. She later claimed the slap had been in protest of Cheng's work promoting transitional justice, which has mainly targeted abuses by Taiwan's former Kuomintang Nationalist government and its dictator, Chiang Kai-shek (蔣中正).

The Presidential Office has confirmed the incident, expressing “severe condemnation of the irrational and violent act.”

Presidential Office Spokesperson Xavier Chang (張惇涵) said in a statement that the offender had been detained and that an investigation was being carried out. He urged those who wish to visit the memorial to show respect to Lee and his family.

Lee, Taiwan's first democratically elected Taiwanese president, passed away on July 30 at the age of 97. The Presidential Office set up a memorial at the Taipei Guest House for people to pay their respects.

The site has attracted more than 10,000 visitors since it was set up on Aug. 1, according to the Presidential Office. In addition to prominent Taiwanese politicians, foreign officials, including U.S. health secretary Alex Azar and former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, have also paid a visit to the memorial during their recent trips to Taiwan.

Lee’s body was cremated on Friday after a wake was held at the Chi Nan Presbyterian Church in Taipei. Before arriving at the Taipei Mortuary Services Office, the motorcade glided by the Presidential Office as rows of people paid a final tribute to the late former president.