THE DARK SIDE OF HONG KONG NIGHT LIFE 1

My old friend- and he’s now very old- Michael “Methuselah” Chugani, below, recently wrote in his Public Eye column in the SCMP about the “great plight” of some “Brits” in Hong Kong who are having an absolutely horrid time these days as new visa regulations make it extremely difficult for them to bring their foreign domestic helper when going back on “home leave”. Awww. Or as “Methuselah” put it, use the time to do your own bloody laundry, get to know your kids again, and get your head outta your arse and see how the other half live.

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With Hong Kong in an almost amusing state of flux with inept politicians on both sides of the fence providing many of us here with a Monty Pythonesque series of absurdity, a few of us expats were talking about how sub-divided this city has become when it comes to the foreign community.

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There are, we said, the long-time Hong Kong Belongers like us and many new to the city, who have no problems living in one of the many outlying islands, a village in the New Territories, Hung Hom, or one of the grand old buildings in Sheung Wan- no elevators but 1700 square foot apartments with high ceilings, real cupboard space and the very heart and soul of the real Hong Kong- and those others who are brought out to this city on obscene expat packages that include the apartment in Repulse Bay, or, in the case of the British-born banker involved in a recent hit-and-run incident, a house up on May Road with a HK$800,000 price tag for its rent.

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Add to this, the two cars, the two domestic helpers, membership to all those private clubs where wearing a hat is not allowed, but carrying a vial of coke is fine, months of “home leave”, a million dollar entertainment allowance, and what do you have? Most of the time, what you have is Hong Kong’s colonial past where “Chinese and dogs” were not allowed in to certain clubs and a warped and false sense of importance.

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The banker mentioned whose $4.3m Ferrari 458 Spyder, apparently, had faulty brakes. This, so the story goes, resulted in him losing control of his new toy which then ploughed into and killed a security guard. He will have his case heard later this month, and it will be interesting to hear the results.

Douche banker kills innocent security guard with his Ferrari – HONG KONG GEO EXPAT

Deutsche Bank exec Robert Ebert arrested in Hong Kong after Ferrari crash leaves security guard dead – INDEPENDENT

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This banker would be the latest casualty in the wealth management sector to have been brought to Hong Kong, and given the keys to the kingdom only for them to become another case of access to excess. Yet, this keeps happening in this city over and over again with, seemingly, no one learning any lessons from anything, and, often a cavalier attitude adopted, where one cannot help but feel much has been brushed under the carpet.

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Hong Kong remains one of the safest cities in the world where, despite way too much media time given to “grievances”, the good outweighs the bad. It’s also a city that holds some nasty secrets, and by this, one doesn’t mean all the cases of strange bedfellows in the business sector, the local trophy wives with their salsa dancing toy boys on the side, who also service the city’s rich, bored housewives, and the money laundering tap turned on in the local film and food and beverage industries.

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Seriously now, all these clubs and restaurants and bars from SoHo to, these days, Kennedy Town, carrying on regardless despite dropping millions each month is as obvious as to why the Macau Jockey Club carries on despite not making a profit since 2004.

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Where Hong Kong is going down a dangerous path is not discriminating enough on the influx of shady individuals coming into the city from, especially, the bankrupt countries in Europe, the scam artists from Africa and the sub-continent along with those on those aforementioned expat packages. Put all these characters and opportunists into a pot, simmer and stir and let loose into local society and what we’re seeing happen is Pandora’s box being opened and the genie popping out.

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This is resulting in too many get-rich-quick schemes, a very thin line between what’s legal and what is a ponzie scheme like the setup a few years ago of that exclusive “members club” called M1NT whose three expat partners successfully fed on the greed of some of Hong Kong’s serial trendies before leaving them high and dry and repeating the modus operandi in Shanghai.

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There are those who might say, Nice work if you can get away with it, but, surely this type of “skill” robs Hong Kong of bona fide entrepreneurism- the type of forward thinking that once made this city rattle and hum through the success of a young Li ka-shing, Run Run Shaw, Gordon Huthart and Alan Zeman?

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Don’t things like ponzie schemes elevate shysters into celebrities to those twenty and thirtysomethings these days who talk incessantly about being “cashed up” and with those dollar signs in their eyes being billion dollar babies?

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These are the star-struck who look to that house on May Road with its $800,000 a month rent and wish to be like the banker and his wife who live there- the one facing a hit-and-run charge, where even if found innocent, has put a dent on a glittering career, not to mention having to carry this past wherever he goes.

Hong Kong today need new heroes not cut from the same cloth as Gordon Gekko and The Wolf Of Wall Street.

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It doesn’t need another dose of those who used Hong Kong’s advertising industry in the Nineties and nicknamed FILTHs- Failed In London Try Hong Kong. It doesn’t need any more bankers and wankers and other strangers bearing gifts we don’t want and giving the word “expat” a bad name.

Maybe we need Batman to clean up our own version of Gotham City.

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