Lithuania's law-enforcement decided on Monday to launch an investigation into an apparent act of vandalism on the Hill of Crosses, a religious site near the town of Šiauliai, after footage posted online showed a woman desecrating a cross with a message supporting pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
In the video, a Chinese-speaking woman removes a wooden cross with a message of support for Hong Kong protesters from its place and throws it away laughing.
“Just throw it there,” she said in Chinese. “We've done a good thing today. Our Motherland is great!”
A photo posted online shows graffiti on another cross that reads, in Chinese, “Hope all the protester cockroaches soon rest in peace. Hope Hong Kong can return to peace.”
The video and the photo were posted online and translated by supporters of Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement over the last weekend.
The police said they were opening the investigation under a Criminal Code article on desecrating a site of public respect.
Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius has described the incident as deplorable, saying that a response from the Lithuanian diplomatic service will depend on the outcome of the investigation.
Last August, a pro-Hong Kong rally in central Vilnius was disturbed by a group of pro-Chinese protesters. The Foreign Ministry has presented a diplomatic note to the Chinese ambassador over the embassy's suspected involvement in the incident.