Robert, clad in a black shirt and trousers, celebrated his ascent by standing with his arms outspread on the pinnacle of one of the towers, as a helicopter circled in the misty early morning. —Reuters Photo

KUALA LUMPUR French 'Spiderman' Alain Robert was arrested on Tuesday after successfully scaling Malaysia's Petronas Twin Towers, in his third attempt on the nation's tallest structure, police said.

The 46-year-old began climbing one of the 88-storey towers before dawn and reached the top before being discovered by security officials, Kuala Lumpur police chief Muhammad Sabtu Osman told AFP.

'We have taken him back to the police station for questioning and checking his passport. He can be charged for criminal trespass... He climbed the building without a permit from the management,' he said.

Robert, clad in a black shirt and trousers, celebrated his ascent by standing with his arms outspread on the pinnacle of one of the towers, as a helicopter circled in the misty early morning.

Eyewitnesses said he took less than two hours to complete the climb, and then fixed a Malaysian flag on top of the building which is home to the state energy firm Petronas as well as many international companies.

'He climbed using his bare hands and reached the top very fast... as no security personnel noticed him or stopped him,' said Ee Wee Kiat, a cameraman who was filming the scene from the ground.

Robert first tried to scale the building on March 20, 1997, and made a second unsuccessful attempt in 2007 after which he was freed without charge.

Each time he reached the 60th storey before being intercepted by authorities.

Robert has been nicknamed 'Spiderman' for his high-profile escapades, which have included climbing the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

The 452-metre Petronas Twin Towers, which opened in 1998, were for several years the world's tallest buildings until being upstaged by Taipei 101 in the Taiwanese capital among others.

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