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Man endures vicious fish attack in river

By Zheng Jinran in Beijing and Huang Feifei in Nanning | China Daily | Updated: 2012-07-09 07:56

Man endures vicious fish attack in river

A fish caught by Zhang Kaibo in the Liujiang River in Liuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, on Saturday. Three fish attacked Zhang while he gave his dog a bath in the river. He caught one of them and believes it's a piranha, an exotic fish found mostly in the Amazon River. He killed the fish later. Qing Yaolin / for China Daily

A man was attacked by three vicious fish who bit through an artery in his hand when he was bathing his dog in the Liujiang River.

Zhang Kaibo, 31, a resident in Liuzhou, the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, was attacked by the fish on Saturday afternoon. One of the fish bit into his left hand and did not let go until Zhang started to bleed.

"One of the minor arteries in my hand has been bitten through," said Zhang, who sought medical attention on Sunday morning after the wound continued to bleed.

A friend who was with Zhang at the time was also bitten on his fingers.

Zhang became a minor Internet celebrity on Sunday after he posted several pictures of the dead fish and his bleeding hand on his micro blog.

"It's a piranha, I'm sure of it," said Zhang, a fishing enthusiast since he was 15-years-old. "The piranha has sharper teeth and their eyes are red, totally different from the fresh water white butter fish that we have eaten many times."

Piranhas and fresh water white butter fish are from the Amazon River and belong to the same species.

Jiang Zhiqiang, a professor at Dalian Ocean University, said the fresh water white butter fish is edible and is imported as food.

"The piranha has been a forbidden import into China, but some people still import them illegally as ornamental fish," Jiang said.

"Piranhas have no natural enemy in rivers in China, which makes them difficult to kill without effective controls."

Xu Xiang, an official from the Liuzhou city's water authority, the official body that acts as law enforcement on the river, said that from Zhang's pictures, the fish looks like a red-bellied piranha.

Xu said a team from the water authority would visit the section of the river where Zhang was attacked on Sunday afternoon.

"We'll try to capture dangerous fish after receiving a report, but it's not easy to catch two fish in a river, especially in such a deep and broad river like Liujiang," Xu said.

"But we will take strict measures to inspect markets selling birds and fishes as pets," he said.

"It will be good for the people, if the government can take measures to prevent more piranhas coming into the river."

The local government has sent the fish to experts in Nanning, capital of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, and may be able to confirm the species of the fish on Monday.

Zhang said he is worried about the two fish that attacked him and escaped.

"How can these two be killed, and how many piranha live in the river now?" he said.

China has confirmed the presence country of more than 520 varieties of alien species, including 268 plants and 198 animals, and microorganisms. Economic losses caused by the presence of just 13 alien species, including whitefly, leaf miner and rice-water weevil, exceed 57 billion yuan ($9 billion) a year according to statistics by the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

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