Hong Kong courts

French Spider-Man barred from daredevil climbs in Hong Kong for a year and jokes he could be ‘back on the 366th day’

Alain Robert scaled Hang Seng Bank New Headquarters Building in Des Voeux Road in January 2011, causing traffic to be blocked for 23 minutes

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 August, 2018, 2:32pm
UPDATED : Friday, 03 August, 2018, 3:01am

An extreme climber who has scaled some of the world’s most iconic architecture – earning him the nickname the French Spider-Man – was barred by a Hong Kong court on Thursday from any such daredevil attempts in the city for a year.

The ban is a condition of the behavioural bond, or bindover deal, Alain Robert, 55, was offered at Eastern Court over an illegal climb in Hong Kong seven years ago.

Speaking outside court, the Frenchman in his wacky blue snake-patterned waistcoat pledged to stay away from any buildings in Hong Kong in the coming year.

“[But] on the 366th day I can come back,” he joked.

“It doesn’t mean I will. I’m just technically talking this is how it works.”

On January 26, 2011, Robert clambered up the 27-floor Hang Seng Bank building in Des Voeux Road with bare hands, in an attempt to raise public awareness of global warming.

The ascent prompted the local fire service to set up a rescue cushion and caused traffic to be blocked for 23 minutes.

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He was charged with one count of public nuisance, for which he was not required to make a plea on Thursday.

Instead, he was bound over for a year on the condition he would not commit any crime, including climbing, in Hong Kong for the coming 12 months, or he would have to pay HK$1,000.

Robert said he was surprised police had come back to him for a climb that took place seven years ago.

He was contacted and arrested in July after he completed another daring climb at the city’s Four Seasons Hotel.

Although the climb to conquer the 165-metre high hotel in the central business district had secured prior approval from the hotel and authorities, police charged him over the offence in 2011.

It was not Robert’s first brush with the law. He revealed he was being investigated over another stunt in Seoul, South Korea, for scaling the 123-storey Lotte World Tower skyscraper.

He said cities held diverse views on his actions. For example, he had pulled off some other stunts in France, but it never got him into trouble despite being held for questioning by the police.

“But it was France,” he said.

Asked if he had his next challenge in mind, Robert said: “I cannot reveal the destination because they are quite sensitive countries.”

Robert is renowned for his free solo climbing using no equipment save for a bag of chalk and climbing shoes.

He has previously climbed towering landmarks such as the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the Eiffel Tower, the Sydney Opera House, the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur and the Galaxy Macau tower.

Before his recent climb at the Four Seasons Hotel, he had previously scaled it in 2008. He has also climbed the city’s Cheung Kong Center twice.

In 1996, he took on the Far East Finance Centre in Admiralty, for which he was also given a one-year behavioural bond.

He has climbed illegally five times in Hong Kong and been charged twice.