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French 'Spider-Man' Caught in Police Web
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The world's most famous would-be Spider-Man yesterday became the third man to climb Shanghai's tallest building - and was promptly arrested by police.

Officers have confirmed that the daredevil, bare-handed climber who illegally scaled the 88 floors of Jin Mao Tower in Pudong is Frenchman Alain Robert, who already has a number of global skyscraper "triumphs." True to form, Robert, 45, alerted the media beforehand and was rewarded by a sea of cameras - and hordes of onlookers on the ground.

He began his 420.5-meter ascent at 2:20 PM yesterday, dressed in a blue and red costume with a mask, just like the fictional superhero of comic books and movies, Spider-Man.

In fact the third film in the Spider-Man series has just screened in city cinemas, drawing big crowds.

"I saw him pass my window on the 30th floor," said a witness employed in the tower, who only identified himself as Eddie. A tower official, Bao Lili, said: "We called police soon after we got the news."

After climbing to the top of the tower and giving a cheeky salute, Robert made a safe descent, arriving on the ground about 4:00 PM. On the way down, Robert, ever the showman, took off his mask, waved to the appreciative crowd, and even stopped to pose for photographers. As he was taken away by police he received a resounding cheer from onlookers.

Robert has conquered many highrises, including Taipei 101 Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Petronas Twin Towers and the Eiffel Tower - and is thus no stranger to police custody. He told reporters before his climb yesterday: "If you obey all the rules, you miss the fun."

Late last night, police said Robert will be detained for five days.

On April 23, 2005, Guizhou Province native Han Degui reached the 86th floor of Jin Mao Tower. Han descended with the help of police and was taken into custody for 15 days. On February 18, 2001, shoe salesman Han Qizhi, "struck by a rash impulse," became the first person to scale the tower. He was detained for two weeks.

(Shanghai Daily June 1, 2007)

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