Diner Sues Restaurant after Eating Raw Snails

Update:06 Feb 2007

The first trial between an Amazonian snail victim and the Beijing-based Shuguoyanyi restaurant has commenced in a court in Beijing.

Mr. Yang, a Guangzhou resident, brought the restaurant to the Chaoyang District People's Court as he fell ill after eating the snail at a branch of the restaurant near Jinsong on June 23, 2006.

Yang said he and his two friends ordered a dish supposed to contain cooked sea snails at the restaurant. However, Yang said, they later found they had used Amazonian snails and they hadn't cooked them thoroughly.

Yang said he started showing symptoms of severe headache and fever several days after the meal. He was finally diagnosed as being infected with angiostrongylus cantonensis -- a parasite that causes meningitis -- on September 29 at a Guangzhou hospital. The disease is tied to the eating of raw snails.

Yang revealed the restaurant agreed to compensate him in early negotiations but later refused any compensation requests. Thus, he said, he was forced to solve the situation via legal means.

He has asked for an apology and compensation of 300,000 yuan (US$37,500).

However, the lawyer for the restaurant says Yang has not presented any valid evidence that proves the linkage between his illness and the meal. In addition, Yang is not on the list issued by the municipal health department naming the 57 confirmed Amazonian snail victims to receive compensation from the restaurant.

Yang's attorney explained that his client was excluded as he was in Guangzhou when the Beijing health department was working on the list. He says his absence from the list does not mean the restaurant should be able to escape their responsibility to compensate him.

According to the restaurant, it has signed an agreement with more than 100 infected diners and has paid more than 1.8 million yuan (US$225,000) for medical treatment and other compensation to victims.

Source: CRI

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