A court has ordered a south China holiday resort and its contracted crocodile keeper to pay almost 220,000 yuan (US$30,560) in compensation to the parents of a nine-year-old boy who was devoured by the reptiles last year.
Liu Haiyang, a second-grader in Beihai City, in the southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, and three other children climbed over the fence around a pool that had been used to stage crocodile shows on April 20. They fired at the animals with catapults and beat them with wooden sticks.
One of the irritated animals caught Liu's clothes and dragged him into water, where he was eaten by a swarm of crocodiles.
Crocodile keeper Liu Jiazhen and the Detian Fishermen's Cabin, the holiday resort that hosted the crocodile shows, were largely responsible for the child's death, the Yinhai district court in Beihai ruled on Monday.
Though the pool bore clear signs it was off-limits to visitors, the crocodile keeper was not at the site, the entrance to the area was unlocked and the fence around the pool, which was only 55 centimeters high in some sections, did little to keep out visitors, the court found.
Following the tragedy one of the reptiles was shot dead, the pool drained and the other 11 crocodiles were shipped to a zoo in the regional capital, Nanning.
(Xinhua News Agency February 5, 2008)