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Platforms played role in woman's snake death

By Yang Zekun | China Daily | Updated: 2022-09-23 09:31
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A recently released verdict found that the sellers, online platforms and delivery companies involved in a case in which a woman died after buying venomous snakes online have been ordered to pay compensation.

The six defendants were ordered to pay 336,900 yuan ($47,500) in total, as their behaviors had a causal relationship with the death of the victim, according to the verdict, which was made in November 2021, but only published recently on the website China Judgements Online.

The public's attention has again been drawn to the subject of purchasing live or wild animals online, after two internet influencers were recently arrested for eating a shark — which was under State protection — that they had bought on the internet.

The victim, surnamed Yang, bought two many-banded kraits, a venomous snake included in the list of terrestrial wildlife that is beneficial or of great economic and scientific value under State protection. She purchased the snakes from Shao Zijiu on June 20 and July 1, 2018, through trading platform Zhuanzhuan. Shao asked others to send the snakes to Yang later via mail.

On July 9, 2018, Yang was bitten by a snake on her left hand. Although she was sent to a hospital for treatment, she died a week later. Yang's parents believed that their daughter's death was closely related to the sellers, online platforms and delivery companies involved in the trade.

Yang was informed by Shao of the risks of rearing the snakes but she insisted on buying them. She was bitten after she didn't use proper protection as instructed while feeding the snakes. She also didn't seek professional treatment promptly after being bitten nor did she truthfully tell the doctor she was bitten by a many-banded krait, causing a delay in treatment.

Therefore, Yang should take the main responsibility, and the six defendants bear secondary responsibility, according to the verdict.

The sellers sold the snakes online publicly and the trading platform failed to notice and stop such illegal behavior, it said.

The Wildlife Protection Law stipulates that online trading platforms are prohibited from providing trading services for the sale of wild animals and their products. The Postal Law prohibits the delivery of any live animal in the mail, and the two delivery companies did not check the packages as required, it said.

"This case once again warns that online shopping participants, whether they purchase, sell or transport goods, must comply with the law and regulations," said Liu Kongsheng, a lawyer with Shandong Chenze lawyer firm.

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