A bridegroom in southern China is suing his friends over wedding day pranks that left him spending the rest of the big day in the hospital and facing a hefty car insurance bill from a traffic accident.
The 24-year-old endured the "hazing" as part of a traditional ritual on his wedding day in November in China's southwest Guizhou province. Relatives who witnessed the incident told Chinese news site The Paper that his friends first threw eggs, beer and ink at him while he was on his way to pick up the bride at her house, as part of a rite that quickly spiralled out of control.
The groom was also tied up on an electric pole with plastic tape wearing only his underwear, while his friends hit him with a bamboo stick. He was then besieged by the group and chased to a corner near a motorway. Trying to escape the hazing, he then ran out into the traffic.
The bridegroom, Ai Guangtao, told the website btime.com that he lost his patience after his friends poured ink on him that impaired his vision.
"Someone was chasing me and I couldn't see very well because of the ink, then somehow I ran onto a motorway with someone tailing me behind," Mr Ai said as he described how the incident unfolded.
Soon after, his friends heard the sound of emergency braking and a collision from the motorway. Mr Ai had been knocked to the ground, with one shoe landing several feet away.
Mr Ai was hit by a BMW after it crashed into the barricade of the motorway while trying to avoid him. The car was severely damaged. He was subsequently hospitalised for three weeks with a skull fracture and internal bleeding.
The traffic police ruled that Mr Ai was at fault in the traffic accident and found him responsible for the damages to the car. In late December, the car insurance company demanded 30,000 yuan ($6530) in compensation from Mr Ai. The groom then decided to take legal action against the friends who had carried out the wedding hazing.
Mr Ai's relatives said he did not have the finances to cover such a bill, and that they had already raised 6000 yuan ($1300) to help pay his medical fees.
Wedding hazing is a ritual dating back to the days of arranged marriages, when friends and relatives played pranks to break the ice for a bride and groom meeting for the first time. But following some notorious cases in which the hazing was taken too far, China's civil affairs ministry in December condemned the practice and called for it to be reformed.