Iceland Mag

3 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag


Chinese off-roaders also paid 1,400 EUR in fines destructive driving

By Staff

  • Part of the tracks left by the group Driving on volcanic sands leaves deep tracks which can take years or decades to disappear. Photo/Kristinn Jón Arnarson

The seven Chinese travellers whose off-road destruction near the highland oasis Landmannalaugar was stopped by a vigilant lodge warden in Landmannalaugar were not only forced to spend two hours repairing the damages they caused, they had to pay 200,000 ISK (1,580 USD/1,400 EUR) fine for their behaviour.

Confronted by highland guards
A group of Chinese travellers on two 4x4s were spotted tearing up volcanic sands on the road to Landmannalaugar in the Central Highlands by a cabin warden, Eiríkur Finnur Sigursteinsson who alerted his colleague and Nature Guard in Landmannalaugar, Kristinn Jón Arnarson. Eiríkur told the local newspaper Morgunblaðið he immediately photographed the tracks the group had left and their license plates.

Read more: Chinese off-roaders forced to cover their tracks by hand

Kristinn Jón confronted the group, explaining to them the seriousness of what they had done, pointing out it was also illegal. The travellers claimed they hadn’t known that driving off-road on the sands would be illegal and expressed deep regret over what they had done. Kristinn then told the people that that if they were truly sorry they should try to make up for the damages caused, handing them rakes.

2 hours community service, 200,000 ISK fine
The group then spent two hours raking over the deep tracks they had left over a nine hectare (22.2 acres) area. The two highland guards also alerted the police in South Iceland, which arrived at the scene fining the group for their illegal off-road driving. The drivers were fined 100,000 ISK (790 USD/700 EUR) each.

Eiríkur told Morgunblaðið that he thought it was highly unlikely the group didn’t know off-road driving was illegal. He points out that all car rentals provide travellers information on how to drive in Iceland, including the fact that all off-road driving is illegal, and that all rental cars have documents detailing this as well.

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