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Outrage over words carved into coral reef near Taiwan's outlying island

Video shows diving coach flipping off message left by unknown divers

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The message "Hello" is seen carved into a coral reef. (Facebook, 爆潛公社 photo)

The message "Hello" is seen carved into a coral reef. (Facebook, 爆潛公社 photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A video allegedly taken by a diving coach on Orchid Island showing the characters for “Hello” in Chinese carved into a coral reef has sparked outrage after surfacing online on Sunday (July 3).

An unnamed diver in Taitung told CNA they suspect the perpetrators to be divers not guided by local coaches, as the damaged coral reef was located 4-6 meters underwater. If they had been with a coach, they would not have had the opportunity to do such a thing, according to the diver.

Taitung County Government said since Orchid Island is not a protected area, the Fisheries Act does not apply to this particular act of vandalism. The government called for the public to respect the environment, adding that should the local community wish to designate the area as protected, it will actively help with the process.

UDN reported that though the government had intended to add Orchid Island to the list of protected areas over a decade ago, residents on the island feared that it would restrict traditional and cultural activities. Currently, the waters near the island are protected by the local diving community.