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Tencent Says It May Appeal Fine in Suicide Ruling

Dec. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Tencent Holdings Ltd. said it may appeal a court ruling that ordered it to pay a fine of 55,612.50 yuan ($8,360) to the family of a college student who committed suicide after discussing the plan in an online chat.

“We do not believe the original case was decided correctly, and are now in discussions with our legal advisers and are evaluating the possibility of an appeal,” the company said in a statement e-mailed to Bloomberg News today.

The Zhejiang Province People’s Court in Lishui City in eastern China on Dec. 3 ruled Tencent was partly responsible for the death for its failure to remove chat group postings related to the suicide plans, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. Two youths used the chat room to discuss their plan to commit suicide together in a hotel bathroom, and one of them followed through, Xinhua said.

Tencent said the suicide plans were discussed using an instant messaging service based on peer-to-peer technology, which the company is “not empowered technically or legally to monitor.” In addition, the suicide plans were also discussed using methods besides the Internet, including phone calls and text messaging, the Tencent statement said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Edmond Lococo in Beijing at elococo@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at ycho2@bloomberg.net

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