John Lever flew into the city, better known for its skyscrapers than its swamps, to catch the crocodile, which is about the size of a teenage child and has evaded local officials for two weeks. 

"He has asked for chicken heads, a bamboo pole and a boat," said a government spokeswoman on Friday. The chicken heads are a lure and Lever intends to catch the crocodile with his hands, she added.

Lever runs a crocodile farm in Queensland and boasts of having caught more than 90 crocodiles in the wild. One of his strategies to find lurking reptiles is to wade into the water and search for them with his feet, slowly and gently.

This particular crocodile, possibly an escapee from a southern Chinese reptile farm, has been hanging out in a waterway near a small Hong Kong country village.

"Once we know where it is, we can catch it quite easily ...
one of this size can go underwater and stay underwater for three-quarters of an hour," Lever said.

Many residents, accustomed to seeing reptile skin only on bags and boots, have been thrilled by its appearance and have flocked to the river just to catch a glimpse.