Chinese tourists have sparked outrage after carving underwater graffiti – onto endangered CORAL.
Horrified divers spotted the Mandarin symbols hacked into the rare grey reefs off the coast of Bali, Indonesia.
Asian tourists – who pay around £60 a day for the activity – even used a knife to scrape their names, a social media ID and a love heart into the rare species of coral around 15ft below the surface.
Local police have launched an investigation to find the diving tour guide responsible for allowing the ”marine vandalism” and they could face a fine.
Rudo Hvizdos, from a local scuba diving firm that took the pictures of the coral graffiti, slammed the tourists and urged people to respect the ocean.
He said: ”This is terrible for the ocean and marine life. I was shocked when I saw the graffiti. The coral has been destroyed by careless divers.
”We believe that their dive guide should have known better than to let them do this and we will try to find out who it was.
”Local authorities are trying to find the people responsible but so far without any success.
”We have to raise awareness on what’s happened. We think the pictures will help to find the guilty person.
”We don’t want this to be seen as a problem of race, colour or nationality but Chinese tourists do need better education about respecting marine life.”
The pictures caused anger in the diving community.
Diver Matt Bown said: ”It’s certainly not racist to call them dumb. Divers more than anyone know how fragile the underwater world is. If I’d have been next to them I would have shut the air off.”
Police search for tour guide responsible
Bobby Varanasi added: ”I would love to carve something on their bodies with a sharp object and then say sorry.”
The graffiti was spotted at the idyllic Toyopakeh dive site off the tiny island of Nusa Penida.
Coral reefs found on tropical sea beds are home to vast areas or marine life normally in a stunning range of colours.
But the coral in Bali – once a living organism made of thousands of tiny creatures – is believed to have died and turned grey after being vandalised.
Marine life in Bali has been severely affected by soaring numbers of tourists, with some three million holidaymakers visiting the island in 2015 – 10 per cent of which were Chinese.
The problem has become so bad that World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has warned of coral bleaching and severe damage.
Coral triangle home to 75 per cent of coral species
They said that Bali is home to the ”coral triangle” which is the ”rain forest of the ocean containing 75 per cent of the world’s coral reef species”.
Chinese tourism has boomed in recent years with 120 million outbound holidaymakers in 2015 – many of them heading for nearby resorts in South East Asia.
But despite their big spending, Chinese visitors have been widely criticised for being ”rude” and showing a lack of respect for local customs.
Earlier this year two Chinese tourists caused anger when they were pictured holding a giant clam hacked out of the sea bed in Koh Chang, Thailand. Police fined the tour guide.
While in Switzerland last year, authorities launched separate trains for Chinese tourists after complaints about their noisy and aggressive behaviour.
In December 2014 a Chinese traveller scalded a flight attendant with hot water and noodles and threatened to blow up a plane while on another trip from Chongqing to Hong Kong a mass brawl erupted over a woman’s crying baby.
Many countries have also made posters warning Chinese holidaymakers how to use toilets properly and not to bath their feet in wash basins.