'French Spiderman' arrested for scaling Philippine tower

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French climber Alain Robert also known as the ''French Spiderman'' climbed Manila's 47-storey GT Towers on Tuesday (January 29).
A pedestrian looks at French urban free-climber Alain Robert, popularly known as the "French Spiderman", on the side of the 47-storey GT Tower in Manila on Jan 29, 2019. PHOTO: AFP

MANILA - A death-defying daredevil known as the "French Spiderman" was arrested in the Philippine capital on Tuesday (Jan 29) after climbing a 200m-tall building in the main financial district without a harness.

Hundreds of office workers and bystanders watched as Alain Robert, a 56-year-old stuntman who has become famous for free-solo climbing iconic towers, monuments and cliffs around the world without any safety equipment, scaled 47 floors of the GT International Tower in Makati.

The building is listed as the ninth-tallest in the Philippines.

Police said they were looking into charging him with causing "alarm and scandal" and "other forms of trespassing".

Images and videos on social media showed the Frenchman - clad in a dark shirt and yellow trousers with a camera strapped to his head - pulling himself up through narrow ledges that adorn the glass-walled building. He came down the same way.

Many people in the building stopped work to take pictures as well as videos of him while trying to identify him and what he was trying to achieve.

Mr Robert began his ascent at around 10am. He was back on the ground and into the waiting arms of law enforcement officers by noon.

He later told reporters : "They may use the word crazy. But there is good craziness, and there is a bad one. There is the one that you put in the psychiatric hospital, which is the bad one."

"And there is, what people are saying about, me - badass. Badass is a compliment," he told reporters .

He said "there was nothing in Makati" 20 years ago. "So, I knew that one day I will be climbing in the Philippines."

The Frenchman has already scaled Dubai's 830m Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.

He holds three Guinness World Records for climbing iconic structures, despite suffering from vertigo.

In 2015, he set a record for the most buildings climbed when he scaled his 121st building - the 305m-tall Cayan Tower in Dubai.

He holds the record for the fastest time to climb the Burj Khalifa unassisted, a six-hour-and-13-minute climb he completed in 2011 with legal permission from the building's owners.

Mr Robert climbed his first building when he was 11. He was locked out of his family's apartment in Bourgogne, France, and his parents were away, so he decided to scale the seven-storey block using his bare hands. In 1982, he fell from 15m and was in a coma for five days, with broken bones. But that did not deter him from continuing to risk death.

Previous climbs have landed him behind bars in places such as Shanghai, Tokyo and San Francisco.

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