Florida woman charged with firebombing Buddhist temple

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Florida woman charged with firebombing Buddhist temple

A Florida woman was caught on surveillance video tossing multiple Molotov cocktails at a Buddhist temple, sheriff officials said.

Mei Zhu Cheung, 46, of Riviera Beach, was arrested Sunday hours after the firebombing at the St. Dak Buddhist Temple in Palm Beach Gardens, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

“Multiple items were found burning on the temple’s grounds,” department officials said in a statement late Sunday. “These items were determined to be improvised incendiary devices.”

Surveillance footage at the temple caught a woman – later identified by authorities as Cheung — throwing four Molotov cocktails over its gate early Sunday. The woman was also caught on video igniting a fifth firebomb and putting it into a mailbox there, sheriff officials said.

Cops later charged Cheung with five counts of using a firebomb and criminal mischief causing property damage at a religious facility. She remained held Monday on $100,000 bond on the felony charges, online records show.

Two residents at the temple on Donald Ross Road found several items burning in its parking lot at about 7:15 a.m. Sunday, an arrest report obtained by The Post shows.

The Molotov cocktails were made of glass bottles filled with citronella torch fuel and pieces of cloth used as wicks, detectives said.

It is unclear why she targeted the Buddhist temple.

St. Dak Buddhist Temple.
Two residents found several items burning in St. Dak Buddhist Temple’s parking lot.
Google Maps

The surveillance footage showed Cheung driving a Toyota Sienna minivan with a distinctive front vanity plate to the temple, according to the arrest report. Weeks earlier, she had spray-painted “vulgarities” onto the temple’s front gate on Sept. 12, detectives said.

The vandalism wasn’t reported to deputies at the time, but investigators said Sunday’s footage showed the same suspect and ultimately led them to Cheung’s home on Big Torch Street in Riviera Beach after a search of state records.

One of the residents at the temple then identified Cheung as the woman she encountered on Sept. 12, deputies said.

A judge set bond for Cheung during a court appearance on Monday, WPTV reported. It’s unclear if she’s hired an attorney who could speak on her behalf.

The temple’s building was not damaged during the attack and the mailbox was still up as of late Sunday, sheriff officials told WPBF.

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