Three hikers who drilled holes to climb a protected rock formation at a UNESCO world heritage site have been fined more than 655,000 GBP for the stunt – with one of them being jailed.
The brazen trio – two men and a woman – drilled 26 holes into the geological marvel known as Python Rock and even flew a drone off its 128-metre (420-foot) peak for good measure on 15th April 2017.
Zhang Yongming, Mao Weiming and Zhang Lu were arrested by awaiting police as they descended the protruding rock inside Sanqing Mountain, which is a national park in the county of Yushan in Shangrao City in East China’s Jiangxi Province.
Video Credit: AsiaWire
Python Rock, which experts say is scientifically significant because it formed naturally over more than 300 million years, sustained damage during the illegal climb.
The geological formation is off-limits to hikers due to its poor stability and a diameter of just 7 metres (22 feet) at its thinnest point.
On 30th December, Shangrao Intermediate People’s Court sentenced Zhang to one year in jail and fined him 100,000 RMB (10,930 GBP) for knowingly vandalising a heritage site.
Mao was given a six-month sentence with a one-year suspension for the same offence, as well as a 50,000 RMB (5,465 GBP) fine, while Zhang Lu avoided punishment.
However, the trio were also billed 6 million RMB (655,580 GBP) between them, which will go towards the preservation and restoration of the Sanqingshan UNESCO Global Geopark, which was added to the World Heritage List in April 2019.
It is unclear why there was variation in the sentencing for the trio.
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