International Asia ‘French Spider-man’ scales Hong Kong skyscraper to hang peace banner

‘French Spider-man’ scales Hong Kong skyscraper to hang peace banner




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Singapore—Nearly a year after a ban in Hong Kong, Alain Robert, commonly known as the ‘French Spider-Man’ scaled one of the City’s skyscrapers on Friday, August 16, but this time in the name of peace.

Mr Robert, age 56, was seen climbing the Cheung Kong Center in Hong Kong’s main business district in hot and humid weather. Li Ka-Shing, the richest man in Hong Kong own Cheung Kong Center.

He then unfurled a banner that showed the flags of Hong Kong and China side by side, over a drawing of a handshake.

Eight years ago the ‘French Spider-Man’ climbed the Hang Seng Bank in Hong Kong without safety equipment. Back then, he wanted to raise awareness about global warming.

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Before climbing the skyscraper Mr Robert released a press statement which said he was making the climb as an “urgent appeal for peace and consultation between the Hong Kong people and their government”.

He added, “Perhaps what I do can lower the temperature and maybe raise a smile. That’s my hope anyway.”

Among his stunts, he climbed the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the Eiffel Tower, the Sydney Opera House, the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur and the Galaxy Macau tower—gaining notoriety for his ascents without safety harnesses or other equipment, and without permission from officials.

In January of this year, the ‘French Spider-Man’ was arrested in Manila for claiming a 47-storey building.

This is the third time Robert has climbed up Cheung Kong Centre. In August of last year, a Hong Kong court served him a ban from climbing up any buildings because of his daredevil climb of the Hang Seng Bank building eight years ago. After the court’s decision, Robert vowed to come back to Hong Kong when the ban expires.

Ongoing demonstrations have rocked Hong Kong for the past few months, but it was in June that the situation intensified when millions of people took to the streets to protest an extradition bill that would forcibly transfer fugitives to other areas that would sign an agreement treaty, including mainland China.

The authorities have put the bill aside but demonstrators are still on the streets protesting against increased police brutality and are clamoring for democracy and free elections.

Protestors have done sit-ins at the Hong Kong International Airport since last weekend, shutting the airport down and cutting off all flights in and out of the city on Monday, August 12.

Some Hong Kong residents did not think much of Robert’s gesture, it seems. One person wrote in a popular forum, “This shows many foreigners don’t understand the underlying issue between Hong Kong and China.”

Chinese dissident artist Badiucao, who is currently living in Australia, tweeted, “Do you really want (to) shake hands with butchers and dictators.”

Billionaire Li Ka-Shing, the owner of Cheung Kong Center, took out an advertisement  on August 16, Friday, which read “Love Hong Kong, love China, love yourself”. /TISG

Read related: HK celebrities who support protests have to pay the price

HK celebrities who support protests have to pay the price

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