Video Credit: AsiaWire
These images show light-fingered tourists making off with bunches of flowers from a precious lotus pond at a botanical garden despite the attraction being officially closed for more than three months.
Brazen visitors desperate to get their hands on the beautiful pink flowers are said to have prised open the park’s chain-link fence using wire cutters on five separate occasions.
They then wade into the lotus pond and steal the buds before they have even had a chance to bloom at the Longqiao Cultural and Ecological Garden in Lu County in south-western China’s Sichuan Province.
Pictures Credit: AsiaWire
Images from the botanical garden show visitors holding clutches of lotus flowers which they have plucked or sheared straight from the roots of the aquatic plant.
Those unable to reach the flowers from the wooden footpath are also seen wading into the pond itself to get their lotus buds.
An unnamed staff member has revealed the 25-hectare (62-acre) park has been closed to the public due to renovation works since 25th March.
But since June, the gorgeous, pink blooming lotuses have brought two to three hundred tourists a day, with many of them leaving with the precious flower buds.
The scenic area now has eight staff members patrolling the area, but stopping the visitors at the entrance has only resulted in conflicts, or forced tourists to cut their way through the boundary fence instead.
The anonymous employee said: “We’ve fixed our fence five times this year. We fix it and they break it.
“And we obviously don’t dare retaliate. Any one of them could make a video and claim park staff are attacking tourists.
“The only thing we can do is call the police. We’ve done that twice this year.”
Despite the threat of police involvement, the mob of tourists continue to come, with park staff now readily letting them in the front entrance in a bid to preserve their chain-link fence.
The eight patrolling staff members say their main purpose is not to stop the tourists from entering, but to protect the visitors in the park, sometimes until as late as 10pm.
“There are so many tourists here every day. If something happens, we’ll be blamed,” the employee added.
The lotus pond, which will remain closed for the remainder of the year, was opened six years ago and is a popular tourist spot in Lu County, attracting more and more visitors every year.
The staff have revealed those who pluck and steal lotus flowers are mostly visitors from other provinces. Police have reportedly declined to arrest or fine the thieves.
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