|Liu Yong-Fu's grave robbed again (6/18/2015)|
Indeed, Liu had commanded his Black Flag Army, and at the invitation of the Emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty, had successfully fought off the French invasion of IndoChina in 1873 and again in 1883 in the Sino-French war.
In 1894, Liu was dispatched by the Qing Court to take charge of the defense of Taiwan. He re-organized the Black Flag Army with enlistees from the two Canton provinces totaling about 8,000 men who were stationed in Tainan area. When the Qing ceded Taiwan to Japan in 1895, the Japanese military arrived in Taiwan and moved swiftly from Keelung to Taipei but ran into stiff resistance in Hsinchu area. From this point on southward, every single victory was hard won. The biggest prize in southern Taiwan was of course Tainan and the Japanese attacked the city from both the land and the sea with a force of 90,000. Two army groups approached from both the north and the south with 15,000 men landed in Putai after heavy bombardment from 3 warships, Naniwa, Yoshino, and Kaimon. Other warships also destroyed Qing gun forts along the seashore in this area.
Facing the overwhelming force and the refusal of the Qing to send help, Liu decided to sue for peace. It was in fact a conditional surrender which was declined by the Japanese on Oct 8th and again on Oct 12th. In the middle of the night of Oct 19th, Liu and his son 劉成良 (commander of Kaohsiung gun fort) with staffers 陳樹南 and 柯王貴 boarded British merchant ship Thales and sailed away abandoning the Black Flag Army. On Oct 22, the leader-less Army, still well-equipped, congregated on the beach, not knowing what to do except to surrender to the Japanese.
It is known that on Oct 23, only 5,100 soldiers were shipped to Kinmen (no record of if they had safely arrived). Between Oct 22-23, about 1,000 were massacred by the Japanese for refusing to hand over weapons and personal belongings, and another 116 died from starvation.
This was the true legacy of Liu Yong-Fu in Taiwan.