Sat, Nov 29, 2003 - Page 5 News List

Chinese hunters to take on Hong Kong's wily croc

AP , HONG KONG

Chinese experts are taking up the hunt for Hong Kong's elusive stray crocodile, replacing an Australian who conceded defeat after two weeks.

Croc hunter He Zhanzhao, from Panyu in Guangdong Province, was scheduled to arrive yesterday at the polluted suburban creek where the 1.2m reptile was first spotted on Nov. 2.

He will be accompanied by another expert, Li Mingjian, according to Hong Kong's Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.

The Chinese croc team planned only to survey the murky creek yesterday and will begin hunting the reptile later, said Viola Kwan, a spokeswoman from the conservation department.

The Chinese also expect to meet with Australian hunter John Lever to see what wisdom he can impart, after he spotted the croc several times and almost got close enough to harpoon it -- but failed to snare the beast.

Lever, from Queensland, Australia, once boasted he would just "walk in and grab" the Hong Kong crocodile. He ended up eating his words when his hunt attracted widespread news coverage but he came away empty-handed.

Lever abandoned his efforts on Thursday after failing to even sight his prey for four nights in a row.

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