Elusive crocodile terrorises tourists
THE hunt is on for an elusive crocodile that has been terrorising tourists in Phuket.
Holiday-makers have been banned from swimming at the popular Thai holiday spot until authorities catch the beast, which has been spotted on several occasions at different beaches.
First seen at Rawai Beach just over a week ago, the animal was last spotted off Nai Harn beach on Friday morning.
Thawee Thongcha, mayor of Karon town on Phuket's west coast, said: "We do not yet know where it comes from.
"We almost caught it when it was seen near the beach in Karon, (we were) metres away, but it moved quickly back to the sea."
Phuket's five crocodile farms have been checked, with all animals accounted for.
"We will have a better idea (finding out) where the crocodile is from when we catch it," Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodthong told Sky News.
"Swimmers have been banned on every beach until the crocodile is caught."
While some have called it "giant", he estimated that the crocodile is 1.5m long and not as dangerous as others.
Marine biologist Thon Thamrongnawasawat said the animal was probably a hybrid saltwater version of the species bred on farms.
He told the South China Morning Post: "Normally the open sea is not a place where a crocodile would live."