Police in the central province of Quang Ngai have arrested a 20-year-old man for spreading rumors about the release of venomous snakes, playing on fears sparked by rising snakebites throughout the country.
Vo Quoc Anh of Binh Son District was placed under investigation for spreading false information, police said Friday.
On November 17-18, Anh posted a picture of green pit viper (Trimeresurus albolabris) on his Facebook page and falsely claimed that a man has been arrested for releasing 30 kilograms of snakes in the province’s Tay Tra District.
The post confused and frightened many people, police said.
At the police station, Anh reportedly confessed to spreading the rumor for fun without thinking about the consequences.
Meanwhile, Quang Ngai authorities are calling on citizens to clear brush away from their homes and kill off the increasingly prevalent green pit vipers; 135 people have been bitten in the province since October, though official casualty numbers remain unavailable.
The provincial administration also instructed relevant agencies to identify the reason for the increasing presence of the vipers.
Meanwhile, Military Hospital 121 in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho has admitted 150 patients who were bitten by snakes, mostly green pit vipers.
By October of this year, Tien Giang has recorded 886 people bitten by green pit vipers, Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reported.
The paper quoted experts as saying that the increase was due to abnormal weather conditions that have created a longer breeding season for the reptile.