Monkey eludes net-wielding police at Tokyo station

TOKYO Wed Aug 20, 2008 5:43am EDT

1 of 2. Police officers are seen holding nets after seeking to catch a monkey at Tokyo's busy Shibuya station August 20, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Yuriko Nakao

TOKYO (Reuters) - A rogue monkey holed up at a Tokyo train station for more than two hours on Wednesday before giving dozens of net-wielding police officers the slip among crowds of excited children and passersby.

"It's a monkey - it's not like it did anything bad," a police spokesman said, adding that the animal was still on the loose.

The monkey was spotted hopping around by the automatic ticket gates at a train line in Shibuya Station in central Tokyo at about 9:40 a.m. .

It then ran downstairs to the entrance to another line, climbed up and down a pillar and ran around the ticketing machines before taking refuge on top of a train information board for two hours, a spokeswoman for railway operator Tokyu Corp said.

Television footage showed the 60-cm-tall brown monkey sitting calmly on top of the board, blinking and looking down at the crowd.

Around 30 police officers and other officials cleared the area and surrounded the animal with green netting, but at noon it jumped off the information board and escaped through the crowd.

"I've heard of mice before, but nothing like this," said Jiro Umegaki, a spokesman for Tokyo Metro Co Ltd.

(Reporting by Yoko Kubota; Editing by Hugh Lawson)