It may not be the most conventional way of promoting our city overseas, but the pursuit of the elusive Yuen Long crocodile has certainly caught the imagination. Since it first made its appearance on the muddy banks of Yuen Long creek two weeks ago, accounts of the reptile's adventures have been avidly followed by media organisations around the world. The saga has been carried by CNN, the BBC and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. It has entertained readers in places as far apart as New Zealand, South Africa, Colombia and Brunei. Even Al-Jazeera, more famous for its broadcasts of speeches by Osama bin Laden, carried an online report under the headline: 'Crafty crocodile troubles Hong Kong.' Different aspects of the affair have been highlighted in the reports, with the arrival of Australian crocodile hunter John Lever, whose trip was partly organised by this newspaper, attracting particular interest. However, the appeal of the story was perhaps best summed up in the first few words of one brief account by Britain's Daily Mirror. 'A crocodile is roaming the streets of Hong Kong ...' it declared. Quite what all this tells us about the way in which the world sees our city is open to question. The fascination would appear to be in line with the familiar image of Hong Kong as a densely populated, modern city in which soaring skyscrapers compete for space on the edge of a beautiful harbour. Place a potentially man-eating reptile more used to the swamps of Indonesia into this urban environment and the potential for a quirky news story becomes obvious. But crocodile fever has been evident within our borders, too, prompting excited crowds including many children to gather on the banks hoping for a glimpse. It is a rare, offbeat occurrence and one that need not necessarily be seen as presenting Hong Kong in a negative light. Certainly, the crocodile should not have escaped capture for so long, and at times attempts by the authorities to catch it have appeared rather clumsy. One foreign report rather unkindly commented that while the crocodile has a small brain, it was still big enough to outwit the government. But the pursuit has also reminded people of our city's capacity to surprise, entertain and excite. It has, in short, helped put us back on the map. Tourism officials have not shown much interest in cashing in on the story. Apparently, the polluted waters of Yuen Long creek do not provide the sort of scenery they regard as a good selling point for Hong Kong. But the appeal of the tale comes at a fraction of the cost of all those slick advertising campaigns and the staging of glittering international events. Maybe, in our search for a winning brand, we should adopt the crocodile as our logo.