Photos on social media of people swimming in the High Island Reservoir in the Sai Kung Country Park have sparked an outcry in Hong Kong.

The photos appeared on Wednesday and showed a group of Chinese hikers entering the water in the reservoir in the the New Territories.

According to a Facebook page featuring hiking news, the photos showed at least five people walking to the High Island Reservoir and taking photos. One of the photos showed at least two people in the water.

The hikers uploaded the photos on social media, which were criticized online, with the hikers being called selfish and others saying they polluted the water in the reservoir.

One of the hikers contacted the page administrator, demanding to have the photos deleted. However, when the administrator challenged the hiker to see whether she knew if they were allowed to swim in the water there, the hiker said she knew the rules.

The dialogue had been screen captured and posted on the page as well, drawing another round of criticism. Netizens said they will report the case to the government and police.

According to the “Waterworks Ordinance,” any person who enters, bathes or washes in water forming part of the waterworks, if found guilty of the offense will be liable to a fine at HK$50,000 (US$6,373) and imprisonment for up to two years.

The High Island Reservoir is the largest reservoir in Hong Kong. Construction work started in 1971 and entailed the building of two rock dams rising 64 meters above sea level at the eastern and western approaches of the narrow strait running between High Island and the eastern end of the Sai Kung Peninsula. The reservoir has a capacity of 280 million cubic meters of water.

The High Island Reservoir in Sai Kung Country Park in the New TerritoriesPhoto: HK Government
The High Island Reservoir in Sai Kung Country Park in the New Territories
Photo: HK Government