Despite keeping up a 24-hour attempt to trap the crocodile - the first to be sighted in the city - the scaly reptile had not been spotted since Tuesday, a government spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

"They are still trying to use a trap to catch the crocodile alive," she added.

Escape

The crocodile, which was first seen last week in the New Territories and was believed to be a salt-water variety, earlier gave police and wildlife officers the slip, diving into the water as they tried to shoot it with a tranquiliser dart.

Crocodiles are not native to the south China region and the
sighting of such a potentially deadly reptile for the first time in Hong Kong, which has banned the import of live crocodiles, has caused a stir.

Speculation is rife in the media, with some papers saying it
either escaped from a farm in neighbouring China or is a discarded pet.