TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A canoe and rafting company in Hualien, Taiwan was the target of an act of vandalism that reportedly endangered the lives of 17 customers last week.
The company, Team of the Howker (浩客家族), posted on their Facebook page on June 15 that an unknown person had sabotaged their fleet of canoes by puncturing the bottoms of the vessels, likely with a battery-powered drill.
According to the Facebook post, 26 of the company’s boats were deliberately damaged, with 17 customers unknowingly taking the damaged canoes out to sea. When the company realized the vessels were unsafe, they quickly dispatched a speed boat to rescue their customers and retrieve the sinking canoes.
Several of the customers commented on the Facebook post, thanking the company for their quick and professional response to ensure their safety. The company also directed a statement at those who committed the act of vandalism.
“Whoever did this, we hope you will think harder about how your actions may be harmful to the lives of others.”
Damaged canoes (CNA Photo)
Liberty Times reports that the total cost of damages to the company was over NT$300,000 (US$9,600). Until the company repairs or purchases more canoes, only seven remain undamaged.
The company apologized for the inconvenience and risk posed to its customers and reimbursed them for the rental and activity fees.
After the discovery of the damaged boats, a police investigation was launched. However, the boats were arrayed on the beach overnight and damaged in the darkness of the early morning. In addition, the boats were not in view of any security cameras.
Police have speculated that the location of the drill holes may indicate that the person responsible is familiar with canoes and is possibly someone known to members of the business.