A group of bikers have come under fire for allegedly using lipstick on a Vietnam-China border marker and then posting their handiwork to social media.
The bikers allegedly used lipstick to alter the number ‘423’ on the border marker to read ‘428’, hoping to fool friends into believing that they had traveled to the most hard-to-reach location in the area.
A photo of the group posing next to what appears to be the ‘428’ border marker in Lung Cu Commune, Ha Giang Province in northern Vietnam was posted to one of the group’s Facebook page on Monday.
However, experienced travelers soon pointed out irregularities with the photo, as the real ‘428’ border marker has a pyramid-shaped top, while the one in the photo had a flat top.
Confronted with the fact in the comment section of their photo, one member of the biking group responded harshly, at one point daring others to inform authorities.
“I traveled to see how big Vietnamese is, not to force myself to visit everything and then brag about it like the mister know-it-all that you are,” T.N.D., a member of the group wrote in the comments.
“About the 428 border marker, we didn’t have much time on our hands, unlike you lot, so we just took out our mamas’ lipsticks and drew on the 423 marker and took a photo of it.”
The comment quickly drew criticism from netizens, who disapproved of the biker’s sabotage and subsequent comments.
Faced with a growing backlash, T.N.D. deleted all photos about the ‘428’ border marker on his Facebook profile.
According to Major Nguyen Huu Dau, deputy chief of Lung Cu Border Defense Post’s administrative inspection team, both the 428 and 423 border markers were erected as per a border agreement between Vietnam and China in 1999.
The 423 marker is easily reachable on the side of the road leading to Lung Cu Flag Tower in Ha Giang Province, while the 428 marker sits near the Nho Que River that separates Vietnam and China, and is extremely difficult to reach due to the surrounding terrain.
The 428 marker is one of the northern most points in Vietnam, and is often sought after by local bikers.
Vietnam’s laws strictly prohibit any action moving, sabotaging or deliberately doing any kind of damage to border markers. Violators can face fines of up to VND50 million (US$2,200).