Very few who arrive in Europe on a private jet in the company of a global superstar end up as asylum seekers, but this weekend that appears to be the fate of Justin Bieber's pet monkey.
Impounded back in March when she arrived in Munich with the singer, but without the correct vaccination papers, the capuchin monkey has been kept at an animal sanctuary ever since, awaiting word from the singer or his entourage as to his intentions. A deadline of midnight on Friday has now passed, apparently without definitive instructions. Thus the poor animal now appears to find itself the property of the German state.
The story of O G Mally, as Bieber named his temporary little chum, began on 1 March when the singer was given her as a 19th-birthday present. She was then 10 weeks old, 42 weeks short of the age, say animal-welfare experts, when capuchin monkeys can properly be taken from their mothers. A few weeks later, Bieber decided that a trip to Europe was just what Mally needed to broaden her horizons. They landed, then Customs discovered she lacked the requisite paperwork and so the monkey was quarantined and taken to an animal shelter.
And that is where she has remained. Capuchins are sociable creatures, at their happiest with their natural family group of a dozen or two. So it's no surprise to learn from the shelter manager, Karl Heinz Joachim, that Mally, above, has been calling plaintively for her grouping. If, on the other hand, Bieber, right, has been pining for the monkey, news of it has yet to be made public.
Mr Joachim said emails from Bieber's management to the shelter indicated the singer doesn't want the monkey any more. Confusingly, other reports quote the shelter saying that Bieber's management have said they did want the monkey back. A three-day public holiday began in Germany as Friday night's deadline passed, and so no conclusion to this intercontinental saga will be available until Tuesday. The cost of care, food and vets' visits so far total several thousand euros. Thomas Meister, a German Customs spokesman, said: "You can bet we are going to ask for that money back."
The monkey, meanwhile, is now 20 weeks old, and Mr Joachim says she is doing well and gaining weight. If not returned to Bieber, she is likely to go to a zoo or other shelter. The German branch of Peta, the animal rights charity, said: "Mally is in excellent hands in a safe place, and she'll be integrated with other monkeys so that she can receive the social interaction vital to her well-being and psychological growth."
German for celebrity simians
Bitte geben Sie mir eine Banane?
Can I have a banana, please?
Wissen Sie nicht wer ich bin?
Don't you know who I am?
Wo ist dieses Arschloch Bieber ?
Where is that asshole Bieber?
Ich will sofort mit der US Botschaft sprechen!
Get me the US Embassy — now!
Dieser Käfig ist eine Verletzung meiner Rechte als Affe.
This cage breaches my simian rights.