Swimmers who ignore warning signs in Kenting to be fined

Taipei, June 27 (CNA) In view of repeated incidents involving swimmers who have ignored warning signs erected in the Kenting National Park of adverse sea conditions, park authorities have decided to slap fines of NT$3,000 (US$100) on violators, effective Friday. The park's South Bay is a favorite place for many swimmers, but three people drowned there last year because they ignored red warning flags. Kenting National Park Headquarters then wrote "swimming prohibited" on its warning flags, but several students from Feng Chia University in Taichung also ignored this warning recently, two of whom later died. Now, anyone who ignores the warning signs and goes swimming will be fined NT$3,000 for violation of national park law. The park headquarters said that if the waves are 1 meter high, it will set warning red flags to ban swimming. If the waves are 1.5 meters high, it will ban diving. Jetskis and other water activities will be prohibited if the waves are 2 meters high. In case of typhoons, the beach area will be cordoned off altogether, the park authorities said. They noted that in the past, they could only disperse violators and said that the fines might provide more of a deterrent. On the first day of the new rule, it was a beautiful sunny day in Kenting and a lot of swimmers, but no warning signs, were seen on the beach. (By Kuao Tze-hsien and Lilian Wu)