Behind drab and unadorned prison walls, Pun Sing-lui is pondering the harsh and unfair fate of an art critic. He is the fellow who climbed on top of the statue of Queen Victoria in Causeway Bay, smashed her bronze nose with a hammer and poured red paint over the old girl. When he clambered down from the sculpture in the aptly-named Victoria Park, Pun told police he had acted in the name of modern art. Later, this story changed. When he appeared in court his lawyer proclaimed that Beijing-educated Pun had damaged a minor but interesting relic of Hong Kong's history as 'an expression against dull colonial culture'. Outraged artistic campaigner seeking to elevate our standard of culture, or patriotic son of the motherland protesting valiantly against one of the few remaining symbols of colonialist oppression? Who knows? Who cares? Personally, I couldn't care less what compelled Pun into the park with a paint pot and a hammer to carry out what was obviously a carefully-planned action. The man, quite correctly is a convicted criminal and the right place for him is in the slammer where he can think long and hard about what happens to people who go about destroying property that does not belong to them. Any day now, I expect to see long lines of students, banners bobbing on sticks, foreheads bound with handkerchiefs, slogans blaring from electronic hailers, calling for the immediate release of this patriotic struggler against the British imperialists. Please, let's not get carried away over this foolish, publicity-seeking art-propelled anarchist. He is a vandal. If he had carried out his childish, destructive romp in Singapore, he would now be ruefully rubbing his backside after a rattan cane had been applied where it would do him the most good. The last time the modest statue got a bath in scarlet pigment was in 1968. That time, it was targeted by leftist demonstrators, none of whom were captured. To my mind, the young troublemakers of a generation ago had more honest motives than Pun. Here is a fellow who was allowed to emigrate from China to Hong Kong, along with his artistic wife who works at the Academy for Performing Arts. All well and good. We need to encourage talent although why it has to be imported is a question worth debating. Pun got into Hong Kong by the usual route. China issued him a one-way permit. Wonderful. The smart fellows in Beijing can spot an unproductive mouth and a potential troublemaker. Why keep them in China? Give them a permit to leave and let Hong Kong feed them. When he is not destroying sculptures of which he does not approve, Pun may have a modicum of talent. His work has been recognised by a French foundation which will give him $60,000 and allow him to study art there. Take care, Pierre. What if the Pun goes to the Louvre and decides he does not care for the smile on the face of the Mona Lisa. Will the scissors slash as he takes his own robust form of art criticism to the masterpiece? If I was in charge of the Alliance Francaise, I would be having second thoughts. What interests me, and I am sure is of concern to many other Hong Kong people, is on what grounds Pun was permitted to enter the territory. I presume he is here legally. Business organisations have been clamouring for welders to build the new airport, construction companies are desperate for skilled high-rise builders, the hotel industry is screaming for waiters. Yet, the Government stands firm against importing skilled workers; instead we get daubers of pigment and smashers of public works. What is going on? Apart from very dubious claims to being an artist, Pun seems to have few skills that could support him or his family. He has no job, for instance, and those in the field who saw one of his works doubt his art has vast commercial value. I am not arguing that art has to make money to be good. Van Gogh and other great painters died penniless. But that is not the point. How does a person with few viable avenues of making a living get permission to come here? It is repugnant that a person who is, after all, a guest in our home should act in such a boorish manner. Imagine if you invited someone to dinner and he didn't like the plates. Does he smash them against the wall? There are lots of things about Hong Kong that fail to appeal to my unsophisticated aesthetic tastes. I happen to dislike the box-like architecture of City Hall, one of the greatest wastes of space on our waterfront skyline. What do I do, go and blow it up? We are told that Pun is suffering because of his art. This is nonsense. Worse than that, it is a lie. Pun is suffering only because he is a criminal. He broke the law. Art has nothing to do with it. If anyone is suffering, it is you and I, the taxpayers of Hong Kong who are picking up the bill for Pun's artistic furies. Because of this cultural descendant of the Visigoths, we are paying about $500,000 for repairs to the statue. There is no way we can get a cent of this back from Pun, who apparently has never held a regular job. What I would like to know is who sponsored Pun to come to Hong Kong and on what grounds immigration approved his landing here. But do not ask our open and transparent administration, for they will flatly refuse to answer. The Urban Council should prepare a bill covering repair costs and take Pun to court. If he cannot pay immediately, then he can get a job so he can pay off a few hundred dollars a month. But I fail to see why we should foot the bill for his anti-social behaviour.