Vicious piranha attacks two in south China river

Shanghai Daily, July 9, 2012

Two people were attacked by piranha, a South American fish infamous for attacking farm animals, in a river in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region over the weekend, worrying local residents.

The aggressive fish bit into the palm of a man who was bathing his pet dog in the Liujianghe River in Liuzhou City on Saturday.

His friend was later bitten on the thumb after he caught one of the fish in the river.

"Three such fish attacked me fiercely right after I put my left hand into the river. One of the fish just bit on my palm even when I tried to throw it onto the ground," said the victim, surnamed Zhang.

The palm-sized fish has sharp teeth. Zhang said it was fierce even after it was caught as his friend was bitten just by putting his hand close to it.

Pictures of the fish and Zhang's wounded hand worried Internet users after they were posted on Weibo.

People said they wouldn't swim or wash in the river for fear of being attacked.

Local fishery authorities confirmed that the fish was piranha.

Piranha mostly eat other fish, but are known to devour weak or sick animals that come to the water to drink. People sometimes lose fingers or toes to the fish.

The fishery officials said piranha was introduced as aquarium fish, but some owners threw them into the Liujianghe River.