Woman attacked by tiger asks for payment

A tiger (R) approaches a woman before attacking her, after she exited a car in a Beijing wildlife park, China, July 23, 2016.
PHOTO: Reuters

The woman who was attacked by a Siberian tiger after getting out of her car at Badaling Wildlife World in Beijing on July 23 is asking for compensation of 2 million yuan (S$414,000) from the zoo, saying visitors were not fully informed of the dangers before entering the park.

The woman, surnamed Zhao, was interviewed by Beijing Times on Wednesday.

It was the first time she has spoken publicly about the incident in which her mother also left the car to drive away the tiger attacking her daughter.

The older woman died after being attacked by a second tiger.

Zhao explained her own exit from the car by saying she had been carsick.

She accused the driver of a patrol car of failing to come to the rescue after her husband sought help.

And there was no safety equipment in the car, she said.

The zoo answered the accusation, saying that no one-including the zoo staff-should leave their vehicle in that situation.

Chen Xu, a lawyer specialising in civil disputes, said he is not optimistic that the injured woman will be fully compensated, because "she made an obvious mistake".

"Compensation would have to be based on evidence that the woman had not made any mistake at the time," Chen said.

"But the truth is that she got out of the car herself. So I don't think she will win if she sues the zoo in court."

The zoo and Zhao's family have reached an agreement that the zoo will pay 1.25 million yuan as compensation for the death of Zhao's mother.

But the zoo said it is only 20 per cent to 30 per cent responsible for injuries to Zhao.

The zoo agreed to pay 745,000 yuan to Zhao but rejected payment for mental suffering and future medical treatment.

On Aug 24, the government of Yanqing district, where the zoo is located, released the results of an investigation showing that Zhao triggered the attack by failing to follow safety warnings.

He Bing, a law professor at China University of Political Science and Law, said the zoo could have some liability.

"Making the report is an administrative act," He said.

"The woman has a right to sue for this money."

He said a place where tigers live and roam freely should be defined as a dangerous area, and it should take more responsibility for protecting visitors.

Simply telling visitors not to get out of the car is not sufficient, He said.

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