Hualien County’s Environmental Protection Bureau said it received a package containing five round stones with a note asking the bureau to return them to the county’s Cisingtan Beach (七星潭)
According to the bureau, the package contained five stones each measuring about 10cm in diameter along with the letter from a woman from Taipei surnamed Han (韓) who said she felt guilty for taking the stones.
“On an impulse, I picked up the stones and brought them home. However, after I saw a news report on TV that said this kind of behavior damages the ecological environment, I wanted to send the stones back to make up for my mistake,” Han wrote in the letter.
The bureau’s deputy director Jao Jui-ling (饒瑞玲) took the stones back to the beach on Friday and reminded tourists that they should leave only their footsteps on the beach and take away nothing but good memories, while leaving all natural objects where they belong.
The bureau praised Han’s decision, saying that it was praiseworthy to have the courage to return the stones, adding that the case serves as a good environmental lesson for other tourists.
The county’s Tourism and Public Affairs Department said removing stones from Cisingtan beach could lead to fines of between NT$3,000 and NT$15,000, although people would not be fined if they put the stones back if they are caught.