Helsinki Deputy Mayor caught illegally spray-painting graffiti in a train tunnel

A 46-year-old deputy mayor of Helsinki was caught illegally spray-painting graffiti in a train tunnel last weekend and is being called to pay for the damages and resign. And although illegal, his art actually looks pretty cool (see image below, posted by Helsingin Sanomat).

Paavo Arhinmäki, who was a lawmaker before becoming deputy mayor, apologized for his "stupid fooling around" and admits to his wrongdoing, saying, "I have committed a crime and bear full responsibility for it," but that "responsibility" does not include stepping down.

From HuffPost:

The deputy mayor of Finland's capital is facing possible legal action, and calls for him to pay compensation for damages and to resign, after he was caught red-handed spray-painting graffiti in a railway tunnel last weekend.

Arhinmäki, 46, and a friend were caught by guards in a rail tunnel in eastern Helsinki on Friday just after they had completed graffiti, which Finnish street art experts said looked partly inspired by works seen in New York City in the 1970s. …

Police are investigating the act as vandalism and interference with rail traffic, which had to be temporarily halted because of the incident. The rail tunnel is used by cargo trains running to and from a Helsinki port.

The case has caused uproar and debate among Helsinki citizens in social media with a majority condemning — but some also fiercely supporting — the actions of the deputy mayor who is in charge of culture and leisure affairs in Helsinki, a city of 650,000 inhabitants.

The Finnish capital spends an estimated 650,000 euros ($710,000) annually to remove illegal graffiti throughout the city, and is currently seeking to establish additional sanctioned sites for street art.