Tue, Apr 10, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Athlete draws ire for climbing historic bridge

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

A screen grab from a YouTube video uploaded by a parkour athlete, known online as Han Shun-chuan, shows the athlete scaling Longteng Bridge, designated a historic site by the Miaoli County Government.

Photo: CNA, screengrab from the Internet

A parkour athlete has drawn the ire of netizens and government officials after sharing a video showing him demonstrating his skills on the historic Longteng Bridge (龍騰斷橋) in Miaoli County.

The athlete, whom netizens identified as Han Shun-chuan (韓順全), posted a video on his YouTube channel showing him scaling the bridge using his bare hands, moving swiftly from pier to pier and doing a backflip off the bridge piers.

However, the video drew criticism online.

“Can you stop destroying our historic site? There is nothing wrong to want to challenge yourself or do parkour, but you picked the wrong place to do both,” one netizen commented on Han’s video.

Responding to the criticism, Han said he did not damage the historic site, which he said is more solid than he is.

He added that it was not his first parkour stunt on a historic site, but that he is willing to apologize if it sets a bad example.

The Miaoli County Government in 2003 designated the broken bridge, officially known as the Yutengping Bridge (魚藤坪斷橋), a historic site, in accordance with the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act (文化資產保存法), Culture and Tourism Bureau Director-General Lin Yan-fu (林彥甫) said.

“It is sad to see the bridge being trampled upon,” Lin said. “This behavior is unacceptable.”

Anyone found damaging the bridge will face criminal punishment, Lin added.

Article No. 103 of the act states that destroying or damaging a monument, an interim historic monument, or its ancillary facilities in whole or in part would be punished with imprisonment from six months up to five years, as well as a fine of NT$500,000 to NT$20 million (US$17,118 to US$684,720), Lin said.

The bureau cannot tell if there is any substantial damage to the bridge based on the video, but it will dispatch specialists to examine the bridge more closely, he said.

“The bridge was part of the Taiwan Railways Administration’s old mountain railway line and the current site was all that was left after a major earthquake during the Japanese colonial era,” he said.

“The county government has spared no efforts in preserving the site, which should be protected by all members of the public,” he said.

Visitors are banned from climbing up the broken bridge, he said.

According to the bureau, the Longteng Bridge was completed in 1907 and was the tallest railway bridge in Taiwan during the Japanese colonial era.

However, it was destroyed after the 1935 earthquake in central Taiwan. The current site includes six piers in the north end and four piers at the south end.

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