Court hears case of woman attacked by tiger

Updated:2017-12-20 09:25:39

  A 33-year-old woman who was mauled by a tiger at a Beijing animal park last year has sued for damages, saying that visitors were not adequately warned of the safety risks.

  The plaintiff, identified only as Zhao, was attacked and dragged by a Siberian tiger after getting out of her car in a drive-through enclosure at Badaling Wildlife World in July last year.

  She had been visiting the park near a section of the Great Wall with her husband and mother. The mother was killed by a second tiger after she exited the car and rushed to rescue Zhao.

  Surveillance video of the attack was widely shared on social media, sparking heated debate over the women's actions and whether the country's wildlife parks are safe.

  On Tuesday, Yanqing District People's Court heard Zhao's lawsuit, which was filed in November last year. Zhao is seeking compensation of 2.18 million yuan ($330,000) from the park.

  Zhao's lawyer, Wen Xiufeng, said after the trial that every wildlife park has to pass a third-party safety evaluation before it opens such drive-through attractions.

  "But materials provided by the defendant in the courtroom didn't prove that; and the evaluation was done by itself," Wen said. "The insufficient evaluation is the root cause of the incident. We doubt the legality of the project and the park's business model."

  In addition, the park had no emergency response system in place to deal with such an incident, and it failed to take effective rescue measures when the tiger attacked, Wen said.

  Attorneys for the park denied liability, noting that the park had performed its duty in warning visitors not to exit their cars.

  "We don't think we were at fault in the case, and we made reasonable rescue efforts for the women," the defense said, according to a statement provided by the court.

  "The amount of compensation the plaintiff is asking for is too high and short of evidence," the defense added.

  Calls by China Daily to a spokesman for Badaling Wildlife World went unanswered on Tuesday.

  The court said a verdict will be announced at a later date.

  Lawyer Wen said Zhao's injuries cost the family a great deal of money, and she has been stressed by criticism from netizens about her behavior. Zhao has not publicly explained why she got out of the car.

  "My client has never said she didn't make a mistake, but the park should also be accountable," he said, adding that the woman is unemployed as a result of the public attention.