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South African arrested for spraying graffiti on central Taiwan MRT station

South African man faces potential fines, prison time for violating Social Order Maintenance Act

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Graffiti spotted on elevator glass encasement at TMRT's Daqing Station. (TMRTC photos)

Graffiti spotted on elevator glass encasement at TMRT's Daqing Station. (TMRTC photos)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A South African faces fines and potential prison time for allegedly spraypainting graffiti on a Taichung Mass Rapid Transit (TMRT) station.

On Saturday morning (Oct. 14), cleaning staff at the Daqing Station spotted graffiti scrawled on the glass exterior of Elevator No. 1, the Taichung Mass Transit Corp (TMRTC) said in a press release issued on Monday (Oct. 16). When TMRT staff reviewed surveillance camera footage, they saw a man riding a bicycle on Jianguo North Road to the station at 4:44 a.m. on Saturday and appearing to spray graffiti on the glass encasement of an elevator, before leaving the scene at 4:50 a.m.

TMRT staff promptly notified police about the incident and provided them with surveillance camera footage to help track down the suspect. Police traced the suspect's movements, arrested him on Sunday afternoon (Oct. 15), and transferred him to the Taichung District Court.

South African arrested for spraying graffiti on central Taiwan MRT station
Cleaning staff attempts to remove graffiti. (TMRTC photo)

The TMRTC emphasized that the act of vandalism constitutes a violation of Article 90 of the Social Order Maintenance Act (社會秩序維護法), which may result in a fine of up to NT$3,000 (US$92.85) or a reprimand. This also involves a violation of Article 354 of the Criminal Code, which may lead to a sentence of up to two years in prison, detention, or a fine of up to NT$15,000 dollars.

The company said it would file a lawsuit in accordance with the law and will not tolerate any illegal behavior. In addition, if this has caused any damage to the TMRTC, it will seek compensation in accordance with Articles 184 and 213 of the Civil Code.

South African arrested for spraying graffiti on central Taiwan MRT station
Graffiti spotted on glass encasement of Elevator No. 1. (TMRTC photo)

According to the company, despite attempts to remove the graffiti, there are still some traces that remain. The TMRTC stated that it will continue cleanup efforts and restore the damaged property to its original appearance in the near future.

It also pledged that it would enhance station patrols to prevent similar incidents from happening again.

The Third Precinct of the Taichung City Police Department stated on Monday that the man arrested was a 33-year-old South African man identified by the Chinese surname Hsiao (蕭), reported CNA. Hsiao confessed that he works as a graffiti artist in South Africa and claimed that he is not familiar with Taiwan's laws and painted the graffiti on a whim.

After undergoing police questioning, his case was transferred to the District Prosecutor's Office to be investigated for violating the Social Order Maintenance Act.