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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 November, 2003, 06:33 GMT
Croc on the loose in Hong Kong

By Chris Hogg
BBC correspondent in Hong Kong

Officials have failed to catch Hong Kong's first crocodile
Hong Kong officials are struggling to capture what is believed to be the first crocodile ever found in the territory's waters.

The alarm was first raised by villagers in the New Territories on Sunday.

Police and conservation officers were mobilised, but have so far failed to capture the beast.

Basking in the sunshine on the banks of the Shan Pui river the crocodile, some 1.2 metres long, appears unbothered by the excitement it had created.

No one knows where it came from but the authorities suspect it was a pet that escaped or was dumped into the river after it grew too big.

As reporters watched from the safety of the opposite bank, it made one or two lazy attempts to find some dinner in the river before returning to the mudflats to watch them.

Chicken trap

This croc was no pushover though.

When police and conservation officers approached, planning to shoot it with a tranquilliser gun and net it, the beast slid quietly into the water and disappeared.

Nothing has been seen of it since.

Lookouts have been posted on the river bank while a large cage baited with half a chicken has been placed in the water.

Officials say there is nothing they can do now but watch and wait.

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