A Hong Kong man was bitten by what was either a big fish or small shark on Saturday in Deep Water Bay.

picture showing a deep cut on the victim’s right foot has been posted to a Facebook hiking and picnics group.

Dennis Fok, a friend of the victim’s, told Sing Tao Daily that he and his friend were chatting in the water before the accident and had not gone beyond the shark exclusion net.

Lifeguards saw Fok and his friends, who were crying for help, and took them to the shore in a dinghy.  The victim was then sent to hospital, for surgery on his artery, nerves and ligaments. He was waiting for a skin-graft. Medical staff identified a small tooth in his wound.

A spokesperson from the Leisure and Culture Services Department confirmed that a swimmer was bitten by a fish at Deep Water Bay at 4:15pm on Saturday, Oriental Daily reported. The department had checked the shark exclusion net but did not find any damage.

Wong Yung-kan, former lawmaker representing the Agriculture and Fisheries functional constituency, said the victim could have been bitten by a barracuda, forced to get close to the shore by an approaching tropical storm.

Chong Dee-hwa, president of the Ichthyological Society of Hong Kong, told Sky Post that the animal could be a one-meter-long shark of possible species that include the grey reef shark, silky shark, spot-tail shark or tiger shark. Chong said sharks may be driven to attack humans if hungry.