Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Indian police hunt monkey that stole South Korean tourist's glasses

LUCKNOW, India (AP) - Police combed the alleys of the Hindu holy city Varanasi in northern India on Tuesday to search for a monkey accused of stealing reading glasses from a South Korean tourist.

Kim Dang Hoon filed a formal complaint against the primate he claims broke into his hotel room and pinched his spectacles, said investigating officer Insp. Govind Singh. "It is difficult to trace the monkey but I am trying my best to locate the rogue," Singh said from the Varanasi, some 300 kilometres southeast of Lucknow.

Thousands of wild monkeys roam Varanasi, dotting the trees on the banks of the Ganges River and scampering through the city's many temples, where they are venerated as manifestations of the Hindu monkey god Hanuman.

In his written complaint, Kim said he opened his hotel room window for fresh air when the monkey made his move.

"He headed straight to the table where my glasses were kept and took it away," Kim said in the statement.

Part of the frame later was recovered by hotel staff and Kim said he filed the report so he can make a damages claim on his travel insurance.

Singh said he would be at a loss if his officers caught the culprit because there are no laws under which a wild monkey can be charged.

Problems with monkeys harassing tourists in the city were common, Singh said.

"But we can't do anything. We cannot shoot them or beat them as Hindus worship monkeys," he said.

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