MALACCA - Vandals have left their mark in the heart of the city's heritage precinct by defacing several popular murals with slogans in black paint.
The walls that the vandals sprayed with paint included the large mural of eight running horses painted by renowned artists Chong Chen Chuan and Quake Kah Ann in Jalan Hang Kasturi.
Themed "Towards a New Journey", the mural was an initiative by the Malacca Chinese Assembly Hall to usher in the 29th National Chinese Cultural Festival 2012.
Words like "Secret Society 585" and "URTS" were sprayed on the mural.
Another wall, fondly known as the Calligraphy Wall, in Lorong Hang Jebat next to the Malacca River, was also sprayed with similar words, including "Erase The Law 585".
The wall was painted with traced calligraphy pieces from four respected calligraphers who had passed on - Datuk Sim Mow Yu, Wang Yi Jian, Wong Mun Yoong and Tseng Jin Xiang.
The walls have been a hit with tourists and Malaysians who enjoy posing for pictures with the murals as the backdrop.
Several other walls in Jalan Hang Lekiu and Jalan Kota Laksamana also suffered the same fate yesterday morning, defaced with words such as "Failed Loyal" and "585".
Malacca police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Chuah Ghee Lye described the acts as "despicable".
Photos of the vandalised walls were posted on Facebook and were rapidly shared, drawing much anger.
DCP Chuah said he had never heard of any gang associated with "585" and said the vandals could be naughty youths.
"Secret societies do not normally reveal themselves in this manner as they would attract attention from the press and police.
"Anyway, we will be investigating from all angles and I call upon any witnesses to come forward and assist the police in putting a stop to this vandalism," he said yesterday.
He added that the perpetrators lacked a sense of civic-mindedness in damaging the murals and walls in the heart of the heritage zone.
Street art requires total commitment from all parties to ensure its survival in public places, he said, adding that the case was being investigated under Section 427 of the Penal Code for committing mischief and causing damage.