Shoe salesman beats 'spiderman' to climb

2001-03-01 09:25

Shanghai - The French "spiderman", the aerial daredevil famous for clambering up the Eiffel Tower and Empire State building, has been upstaged in China by a shoe salesman.

Alain Robert walked away from Shanghai after he decided that shimmying up the 88-storey Jinmao Tower - China's tallest building - was too risky.

Enter Han Qizhi, a 31-year-old shoe salesman who just happened to be walking past the popular landmark and was "struck by a rash impulse", according to one state media report.

When security guards weren't looking, he launched himself upon the skyscraper and proceeded to clamber - bare-handed and dressed in ordinary street clothes and shoes - up a steel grid that sheathes the building, state media reported.

Han hoped his death-defying stunt in high winds, near-zero-degree temperatures and swirling fog might help promote his shoe business in the central Chinese city of Hefei. A trim, athletic-looking man, he had never climbed before.

"He just wanted to show off and make a name for himself," said police spokesperson Fang Dinghua.

"He walked around Jinmao a couple of times, told his colleague he was going up, dropped his jacket and started climbing. And that was that."

By the time Han was grabbed by police in a window-cleaners' moveable perch just short of the summit, his hands were raw and bleeding.

Han was immediately taken into custody, where he will remain until March 3.