Japanese city sends 280 people on monkey hunt

TOKYO - Around 280 trained hunters, firefighters and municipal officials fanned out across a Japanese city this week to catch a single bad-tempered monkey that was menacing locals.

The male macaque had been terrorising the people of Hyuga in the far south of the country since late last month, and was blamed for 18 attacks.

"There are many local residents who have been bitten and injured," an official told AFP on Wednesday. "It was a serious problem for our city."

The city organised a team of 280 people on Monday to go after the creature, which was finally tracked down to an abandoned house.

After failing to find a home for it with local zoos or universities, the animal was put down, said the official, citing the danger it posed to the local community.

Monday's hunt was the city's second large-scale attempt to capture the critter after 500 police officers, firefighters and volunteers spent a fruitless few hours looking for it on Sunday.

City officials are continuing to patrol local streets in case any more monkeys go ape, the official said.

Macaque monkeys are common in the wild throughout Japan, living on the country's heavily wooded hillsides.