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Thursday, July 03, 2014

Beware the warning signs and be sure to comply!

Here's a news item in Taipei Times I just read which a civil liberty minded people may find it's objectionable. but siding on the safety and saving lives, one can understand why the local officials in Taiwan would choose to do this:
In view of repeated incidents involving swimmers who ignored warning signs erected in the Kenting National Park of adverse sea conditions, park authorities said they have decided to slap fines of NT$3,000 on violators, effective yesterday.
Kenting’s South Bay (南灣) is a popular spot among swimmers, but three people drowned there last year because they ignored red warning flags, park officials said.
Kenting National Park Headquarters wrote “swimming prohibited” on its warning flags, but several students from Feng Chia University in Greater Taichung also ignored these warnings, resulting in the death of two.
“Now anyone who ignores the warning signs and goes swimming will be fined NT$3,000 for violation of the National Park Act (國家公園法),” the park headquarters said.
It said that if the waves are 1m high, it will set warning red flags to ban swimming, adding that if the waves are 1.5m high, it will ban diving.
Jetskis and other water activities will be prohibited if the waves are 2m high, the agency said.
In case of typhoons, the beach area will be cordoned off altogether, the park authorities added.
They said 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 yesterday, it was a beautiful, sunny day in Kenting and there were many swimmers, but no warning signs on the beach.
So the moral of the matter is to beware the warning signs and be prepared to obey or risking on paying some large fines (NT3000 is equivalent US $100).  It will be difficult to fault the local officials' effort in trying to prevent damaging injuries and casualties.  We can certainly not excuse the college students who ignored the warning signs and ended up lost two companions. Is there better ways than large fines? There must be. But human nature as it is, we are still carrying our own life in our own hands.  Safety first, by all means, be mindful when there's warning signs!

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