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Last Updated: Monday, 17 November, 2003, 04:48 GMT
Crocodile foils new capture bid
Hong Kong crocodile
The croc can easily be seen - but catching it is another matter
A small crocodile that has thwarted numerous attempts at capture in Hong Kong has done it again.

The reptile slipped into a muddy creek on Monday, as a hunter tried to catch it with a harpoon.

The crocodile became a celebrity by eluding Hong Kong officials, who then enrolled the serviced of Australian crocodile hunter John Lever.

But before dawn on Monday Mr Lever failed in his fourth attempted capture in as many days.

"We got the closest that we have been," he told the BBC's World Today programme.

"The boat hit the weeds he was in and caused vibrations and he disappeared right before my eyes."

Another go

Mr Lever - who is using a small boat to hunt down the crocodile - first tried to lure it with chicken heads.

But the 1.2-metre (4-foot) animal was not hungry enough to take the bait.

John Lever
Lever demonstrates his technique
Mr Lever then relied on a special bamboo harpoon, which he said could capture the animal without killing it.

He told reporters would try again on Tuesday night, when the tide seems right.

Responding to critics who wonder why he does not go after the crocodile in the daytime, when it is been spotted repeatedly, Mr Lever said that would not work because animal would see the hunter approach.

The hunt for the crocodile has captivated Hong Kong and dominated newspaper headlines.

Mr Lever told the South China Morning Post, which has sponsored his visit: "Finding him is the easiest part. Getting close enough to catch him is the hard part. It requires a lot of stealth."


The crocodile is not native to Hong Kong. It is believed to have escaped from a home where it was kept as a pet, or a farm on the Chinese mainland.

But the authorities fear the animal could harm someone, and they are determined to track it down.

They have been remarkably unsuccessful so far. Teams of sharpshooters with tranquiliser darts failed to hit their target in front of the assembled media.

A series of traps have also failed. On one occasion the crocodile managed to eat the food in a trap and slip away without getting caught.

But officials say they intend the animal no harm.

Chris Hogg reports
"John Lever had the swagger and confidence of a man who has caught more than 100 crocodiles"

Hong Kong crocodile eludes hunter
16 Nov 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Hong Kong crocodile hunt begins
14 Nov 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Croc hunter heads for Hong Kong
11 Nov 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Croc on the loose in Hong Kong
04 Nov 03  |  Asia-Pacific


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