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June 18, 2014

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City park security raised as phantom fruit pickers feast

SECURITY guards at the Shanghai Botanical Garden in Xuhui District have been put on high alert as officials seek to tackle a new and dangerous predator — the unauthorized fruit picker.

According to the park’s operator, red bayberries, loquats, peaches and plums are all at risk from the opportunist nibblers.

“There are almost no loquats left in the garden,” said park official Zhao Yingying.

“We lost half of them to windfall and the rest were picked by the public,” she said.

As a result, security has been intensified, with guards told to leave no stone unturned in their hunt for the phantom fruit filchers.

But even that is unlikely to deter the most determined of peach pinchers and plum pilferers, Zhao said.

“We can’t keep people under observation around the clock,” she said.

“And even if we did catch someone stealing a piece of fruit, it wouldn’t seem right to fine them for it.”

Yet despite Zhao’s kindly nature, she said she thinks the city’s light-fingered fruit fanciers might have bitten off more than they can chew.

“The problem (for the pickers) is that the fruit on our trees is not as tasty as the stuff you get in the shops,” she said.

“They’ve all been sprayed with pesticide.”

The trees, and fruit, are there for people to look at and study, not to eat, she said.

An official at Century Park in the Pudong New Area said he too has been battling against unauthorized fruit pickers.

Plums have been purloined and loquats lifted throughout the park, he said.

But those who feast on forbidden fruit should keep in mind that they’re taking a big risk ... as they’ve all been treated with pesticide, the person said.


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