Employees of contractor questioned over alleged vandalism after colourful murals painted over
A popular cultural attraction and one of Taiwan’s most “Instagrammable” sites has allegedly been defaced by the operators contracted to run it, after they were told to move out for six months while restoration work was conducted.
It was discovered on Friday that many of the walls of the Rainbow Village had been covered with paint overnight. Police detained 14 employees of the Rainbow Creative Co for questioning over the alleged vandalism, including the company’s head, Wei Pi-Jen, who defended their actions as a protest rather than “malicious destruction”. They were released on Sunday.
Central Taiwan Rainbow Village defaced, artist condemns perpetrator as ‘villain’https://t.co/X0EtlRTGYA pic.twitter.com/SDxh241LXU
The Rainbow Village is a former military housing estate in the city of Taichung, on Taiwan’s central western coast. Many similar villages, once common across Taiwan as housing for the dependents of veterans, have been demolished. In 2008 as Taichung’s city centre grew towards its outskirts, the site was earmarked for development and residents were offered compensation to move.
The last remaining resident was a former soldier, Huang Yung-Fu, who had lived in the village for more than 30 years. Not wanting to leave, Huang began painting dozens of neighbouring houses, and his work caught the eye of local university students who campaigned to save the site.
It now reportedly welcomes 1 million visitors annually, attracted to the bright and colourful murals covering the small and quirky homes. Under contract with the Taichung city government, the Rainbow Creative Co has maintained and operated the village as a tourism venture for almost 10 years, while Huang has continued to live on site.
In a handwritten note obtained by local media, Huang, 99, said he was very sad to learn of the murals’ destruction. “My lifetime’s work was destroyed by him,” Huang said, referring to Wei.
Across social media and Google reviews for the attraction, Taiwanese people expressed anger at the Rainbow Creative Co, with many calling for prosecution.
There are many ways to deal with things, and you use the method that everyone thinks is the least ideal,” said one commenter in reply to the company’s post. Another said: Whoever provokes you, you should go to that person. Why involve Grandpa Rainbow? You have ruined most of Grandpa’s hard work like this, won’t your conscience be uneasy?”
Rainbow Creative Co defended the actions, saying Wei had copyright over the murals, and accused the city government of “administrative violence” by forcing it out with just five days’ notice. “Why not give us an early notice or announcement so that we can prepare in advance, instead of completely ignoring the livelihood of our 22 employees?” it said.
Wei said the act was the “only way to protect my rights and interests”, and that none of the work covered up by his team had been painted by Huang. The two parties are involved in a legal dispute over profit-sharing and copyright.
Neither party could be reached for further comment.
Additional reporting by Xiaoqian Zhu

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