A young Korean couple—exchange students, reportedly—have been fined almost US$30,000 for defacing the El Morro National Monument in New Mexico.
Naughty, naughty, naughty.
From the Las Cruces Sun-Times:
According to court filings, on Oct. 13, 2011, NPS employees at the El Morro National Monument discovered two names — “Super Duper Dana” and “Gabriel” — illegally carved into the sandstone cliffs of Inscription Rock, the monument’s most prominent historical feature which includes engravings dating back to 1758. After ascertaining that the monument register for Oct. 13, 2011, included an entry by a visitor who identified herself as Dana Choi from South Korea, a NPS ranger initiated an investigation. Through Facebook, the NPS ranger was able to identify the defendants, who subsequently were arrested on Dec. 2, 2011, based on a criminal complaint.
The monument’s most significant feature is Inscription Rock, a soft sandstone monolith, rising 200 feet above the valley floor, on which are carved hundreds of inscriptions from early travelers. The monument also includes pre-Columbian petroglyphs and Pueblo Indian ruins.
The Chosun Ilbo report says the couple claimed in court that because to their poor English, they misread the “no graffiti” sign as meaning they may, in fact, carve into the rock.
Hey, could happen to anyone.
The Chosun also noted that not only was the story receiving interest in America, but also in Japan. For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t have heard of it if it weren’t the fourth-most looked-at story on the Chosun Ilbo’s website.