Reef Pemphis picked illegally in Houwan Kenting

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Reef Pemphis picked illegally in Houwan Kenting

I absolutely love Houwan (Back-Bay) in Kenting, and the more I go here, the more I think how underrated this place is. I already wrote about green-carpet algae wonder in Houwan

Now, an article in udn.com news again caught my attention using Houwan in title, so I am rushing to give you a write-up as well.

Reef pemphis growing on the coral reefs of Hengchun Peninsula of Pingtung, used to be commonly used in gardening bonsai, and as medicinal plants for the treatment of rheumatism.

It was often illegally picked or sold in sporadic mode, and now some people recently found stealing plenty of reef pemphis on the coast of Houwan of Checheng Township inside the protected area of Kenting National Park.

Reef Pemphis in Kenting National Park. [ photo courtesy of Kenting National Park headquarters ] 

This crime went so rogue, and even there were coral reefs that were knocked down and taken away. The coastline of the sea, with a length of 3-4 kilometers, was not spared from this criminal theft, and thus hateful anger was expressed.

This crime went so rogue, and even there were coral reefs that were knocked down and taken away.

A report had been received and cooperation with police to find out the illegal collector was on-going, and because of the wide range of illegal picking, the case report would be investigated and dealt with according to the criminal law for theft, the management office of Kenting National Park said.

stolen corals

One of the places where the theft took place.

Local resident with the surname Shiao (蕭) said that a while ago, a friend took him to the shore of Houwan in Kenting to learn about the situation of illegal picking of reef pemphis; originally, he thought that only a few plants were cut away, but unexpectedly, after walking along sea coastline of 3-4 kilometers long, he only realized that it was a planned, large-scale stealing along the entire coastline!

tool used to steal pemphis in houwan

Even there were some of the more good-looking plants which were knocked down together with coral reef and taken away by people, Shiao said, adding that it was more detestable when the harvested reef pemphis that cannot be taken away was just thrown on the ground and let withered.

Hsu Shu-kuo (許書國), deputy director of the management office of Kenting National Park said, in March, it had been informed that the reef pemphis on the coast of the Houwan area in Checheng Township had been illegally picked by unscrupulous people, and personnel was sent to the scene to conduct an actual survey of which the finding suggested that the range of the coastline of which the illegal picking was conducted was quite large.

kenting national park headquarters investigate theft

Personnel from Kenting National Park Headquarters investigating theft

This had violated the National Park Act, Forestry Act (森林法) and the criminal law for theft, and the management office had been cooperated with the  Special Police Corps to strengthen inspections, reinforce wiring and search, and access to the environmental surveillance system of the surrounding, Hsu said, adding that relevant clues had been preliminarily grasped.

According to the Conservation Research Section of Kenting National Park Headquarters, reef pemphis are widely distributed on the coast of Hengchun Peninsula, and they are not protected plant species.

On seashore, they are first line plants, and they grow only on the rock of coral reef, the Conservation Research Section said.

Reef pemphis was often used as bonsai or herbs in the early years, and it was illegally picked in sporadic mode previously, the Conservation Research Section said, adding that this large-scale illegal harvesting was rare, of which it would cause damage to the local natural environment, thereby reducing the protective effect of natural coastline rings, and this would also damage the natural environment of biological microhabitats.

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