Youth poisoned by puffer fish

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 July, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 July, 1995, 12:00am

A VIETNAMESE teenager died after eating a poisonous fish that he and his friends had caught, the Coroner's Court heard yesterday.

Ung Thanh Dien, 16, was poisoned by tetradotoxin - a neural poison - after eating pieces of a puffer-fish liver last year.

He was taken to hospital but died within 12 hours of eating the fish.

In the afternoon of June 4 last year, Ung and another six inmates from Tai A Chau detention centre went to swim at the island's Pok Cho Wan beach, the court heard.

The boys caught only one fish that day, a puffer.

One of the boys, Chi Nguyet Kiet, 18, said it was the first time they had gone fishing at the beach.

Although the boys did not know what they had caught, they cooked the fish and ate it.

The court heard Ung and another boy, Duong Thuong Quang, 18, ate part of the liver because it looked tasty. The toxin is mainly concentrated in the liver and ovary.

That evening, the two boys began to vomit and were sent to hospital. Mr Duong, who ate only a small piece of liver, recovered.

Ung, however, died in the early hours of June 5.

The jury of three returned a verdict of accidental death.

Coroner John Saunders said the boys had engaged in a normal activity: fishing. It was a tragedy that they had caught a puffer.

The jury called on the Government to provide more education programmes on dangerous fish in the territory, adding: 'It is important to inform the public, especially parents, about poisonous fish commonly found in Hong Kong waters.'




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