Four detained after fish poisoning


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In a series of events that reads like a bad comedy, four men in the city of Yibin, in the Sichuan province of China, have been held after poisoning more than 50,000kg of fish, reports Nathan Hill.

Let that figure sink in. 50,000kg. That’s fifty tonnes of fish poisoned. Death on that level is somewhat more than an oversight.

Details are scant, but we know that the main protagonist was a man named Xie, who worked outside of the region but had returned home to his village of Gaoxian before a Spring festival.

For whatever reason (accurately translated accounts are not freely available), Xie and three friends purchased nine bottles of unspecified pesticides, and on February 20 they poured two of them into the uppermost reaches of a river in Chuandong village.

After waiting an hour with no response, the group suspected they’d been defrauded and sold fake pesticides, and dumped the remaining seven bottles into the same water. It transpired that they knew nothing about the amassed fish in ponds nestled in the lower reaches of the river.

Subsequently, the pesticides did what pesticides do and wiped out any poor beasts they came into contact with. Later, when the men found they’d inadvertently poisoned 50,000kg of fish they fled Sichuan. I should add that the figure involved could do with some citation, because my only sources are pretty inconsistent pages of Chinese news.

Xie apparently saw the error of his ways (or was perhaps mindful of repercussions, given China’s slightly shaky stance on capital punishment and human rights) and gave himself in along with one other man, while the other two men were promptly arrested when they returned to Yibin.

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