The South China Morning Post, Cathay Pacific and the Kowloon Shangri-La hotel have put everything in place for Australian expert John Lever to fly to Hong Kong to catch the Yuen Long crocodile. As the Post has established his availability and willingness to do it for free, all that is needed now for Hong Kong's first professional crocodile hunting expedition is for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) to issue an invitation. Last night, a department spokeswoman said an official would today contact Mr Lever, who runs the Koorana saltwater crocodile farm near Rockhampton, central Queensland. The official would ask about Mr Lever's experience and his proposed plan for catching the reptile. Even though the cost of Mr Lever's visit would be covered by Cathay Pacific and the Kowloon Shangri-La and he is offering his services for free, the spokeswoman refused to say if the government would invite Mr Lever, even if it were satisfied with his croc-catching credentials. 'I cannot say if we will invite him, but we may consider it,'' she said. 'We need more information.'' Mr Lever, one of Australia's top experts in his field, was recently seen on Hong Kong television in a four-part National Geographic documentary on crocodiles. He has worked for the United Nations, catching crocodiles in Indonesia and New Guinea and he has caught more than 90 of the beasts in the wild. For four days, the 1.2-metre Yuen Long crocodile has evaded AFCD officers in the Shun Pui River. Two cage traps have been set, one baited with fish and the other with half a chicken. Mr Lever said last night that he would need a small boat with an outboard motor. 'I'll bring my own catching gear and we'll go out at night,' he said. A well-fed farmed crocodile of 1.2 metres would be two to three years old, according to Mr Lever's wife, Lillian, who is herself a crocodile expert. She added it was probably a saltwater crocodile - Crocodylus porosus - which is seen in Australia, New Guinea, Indonesia and Thailand. The AFCD last night said the animal was believed to still be in the river. Officers and police had been stationed along the river bank.