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)