Twenty-seven people were fined a total of 135,000 yuan ($19,200) after being caught trespassing in a restricted area at Hoh Xil Nature Reserve in Qinghai province on Nov 1, Xinhua News Agency reported on Sunday.
The police department at Hoh Xil Nature Reserve Administration received a tip on Nov 1, claiming an illegal group consisting of 10 SUVs and 27 people were about to trespass on the Hoh Xil reserve from Qinghai's Haixi Mongolian and Tibetan autonomous prefecture.
Patrolman Nyima Tashi and his co-workers were dispatched immediately to track the group, according to China News Service.
By the evening of Nov 3, the patrolmen spotted lights used by the group, who were camping near the shore of Lexiewudan Lake, and monitored their movements.
After several days' investigation, the group was captured near Taiyang Lake in the reserve, and they were safely escorted to Golmud city by Nov 8.
When the group was captured and inspected, it was discovered that three people had high altitude sickness. They were sent to Golmud City Hospital for treatment.
Karma Tsetan, an official at the administration, said that after an investigation, they found the group was made up of amateur outdoorsmen who trespassed on the reserve for tourism and expedition purposes.
"According to relevant regulations, each member of the group was fined 5,000 yuan," Karma Tsetan said. "They were also warned and advised against their behavior, and now the case is closed."
With an average altitude of over 4,600 meters above the sea level, the Hoh Xil reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its natural beauty and biodiversity, is situated in the hinterland of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. It has the highest altitude and the most diversified wild animal resources of all China's reserves.
In recent years, amid the Hoh Xil reserve's achievements in ecological conservation, its popularity among the public has continued to grow, and it has attracted some amateur outdoorsmen who trespass and participate in illegal activities, which have brought hidden dangers to the ecosystem and have created big risks for the outdoorsmen.
In 2015, police with the Hoh Xil administration issued regulations prohibiting trespassing in Hoh Xil areas.
In 2017, a joint regulation banning trespassing had been taken by reserves at Hoh Xil and Sanjiangyuan, which is also in Qinghai; Altun Mountain in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region; and the Changtang area in the Tibet autonomous region.
In addition, the Sanjiangyuan National Natural Reserve Administration warned the public that any life or property losses caused by trespassing would be the sole responsibility of the units or individuals involved.