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Monkey on the lam in downtown Fukuoka

FUKUOKA -- Police received a flood of emergency calls on the morning of Nov. 24 to report sightings of a monkey in the downtown of this southwestern Japanese city.

According to Fukuoka Prefectural Police, the reports all apparently concerned the same monkey. There were sightings in Fukuoka's Chuo Ward, near JR Hakata Station in Hakata Ward, and other locations. There have been no injuries reported. Police are urging caution, stating, "If you encounter the animal, avoid making eye contact and keep your distance."

The first sighting, in the Nagao area of Fukuoka's Jonan Ward, was phoned in to police at around 10 a.m., followed by reports in the Hirao and Kiyokawa districts of Chuo Ward. After that, residents said they spotted the monkey at Meiji Park near Hakata Station and in front of Hakata Police Station northwest of the park. At around 11:30 a.m., the monkey was reported to be near Harasanshin Hospital in Hakata Ward.

The prefectural police passed information on to the ward offices, and officers with nets are searching for the monkey.

There was last a monkey disturbance in Fukuoka in 2015, when one of the animals appeared in the central Tenjin area.

(Japanese original by Keisuke Muneoka, Kyushu News Department)

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