Sze Yup Buddhist temple set alight in Australia

By Joel Christie, The Daily Telegraph, February 1, 2008

Sydney, Australia -- HERITAGE listed Buddhist temple was torched in a suspected arson attack early yesterday, a week before Chinese New Year.

Fire crews which went to Glebe's secluded Sze Yup Temple about 1am yesterday found the front entrance gates forced open and the right-side chapel on fire.

Of the three buildings in the large Edward St site, it was this temple, the Chapel of Good Fortune, which was meant to house the celebrations for the Year of Rat next Thursday, February 7.

The roof and all the contents of the century-old chapel, a spiritual and cultural centre for Sydney's Chinese community, was completely destroyed by the fire.

Glebe Fire Station station manager Bill Sheedy, one of the first to arrive at the scene, said the fire is being treated as suspicious.

"The flames were going through the roof, which usually indicates the fire has escalated quickly and that perhaps an accelerant had been used," he said.

"We were not able to ascertain the direct cause of the fire, but suspect it was arson."

Police and forensic investigators established a crime scene yesterday and examined the wreck to try and determine the cause of the fire.

Sergeant Ian Miller said officers doorknocked the neighbouring streets yesterday trying to find witnesses.

"We are canvassing the area and speaking to neighbours to see if anyone saw anything," Sgt Miller said.