Smugglers bite into a whole new market

Central Station | Nury Vittachi 22 Jan 2020

Bad news: Hong Kong customs officers revealed this week that they caught one drug smuggler with illicit stuff in his shoes while another kept his stash in his grey y-fronts.

[Staff supplied reporters with a photograph of said underpants but I am sparing you that unedifying sight.]

We travelers are patient people who grudgingly put up with customs officers demanding the removal of shoes, jackets and belts, but I warn you now, underpants would be a step too far.

Meanwhile, a different group of Hong Kong customs officers revealed that they had caught a fleet of fishing boats, tugs and barges operating a smuggling network in local waters on Friday last week.

Drugs? Gold? Contraband?

No. The boats were smuggling frozen pork chops and the like.

Next: Armed gangs skip banks and jewelry stores and instead target the Park'n'Shop meat counter where the really valuable stuff is.

* * *

Or they could go for Hong Kong's valuable incense trees. Tree-thieves are "incredibly brazen" I heard from Sally Andersen, a Lamma resident. "One time I popped out for a quick dinner with a neighbor and when we gotback the cutters had been in his garden, cut down a tree and made off with it," she said.

What I don't get is how they hide a whole tree. "Is that a tree in your pocket, sir, or are you just glad to, etc?"

* * *

Warn your yellow ribbon friends. Hong Kong human resources staff are checking social media feeds to make sure their firms don't hire protest supporters.

This is NOT because executives are pro-Beijing.

"It's because the vast majority of major firms in Hong Kong have mainland activities," said my source, whose firm hires hundreds of graduates a year. "Nobody wants staff members who can only operate in one city."

Start deleting stuff NOW.

* * *

I bought a toy lava lamp made by a toy company called Toysmith from the toy department of Bookazine, and the disclaimer on the front said: "This is not a toy." The modern paradox: reality itself is surreal.

* * *

MTR bosses have a billion-dollar Valentine's Day present for the residents of Kai Tak: a railway line connecting them to the rest of Hong Kong.

But probably only the oldest Hongkongers will realize the connection between the February 14 festival of romance and Kai Tak - a name linked to a love story.

In 1881, a Hong Kong Chinese man named Ho Kai revealed that he had married Englishwoman Alice Walkden during a stay in London.

Locals and Westerners were shocked. Was it legal? Was it ethical? Was it biologically possible?

Hong Kong's first mixed couple was deliriously happy until she died of typhoid two years later.

Ho Kai was broken-hearted. He gave his wife's personal name to a medical facility he sponsored, and his own to Kai Tak district (Tak was another family member).

And that's why one of the biggest hospitals in Hong Kong today is known as "the Alice" for short.

* * *

Okay, you can breathe again. Literally. The main air pollutants in Hong Kong dropped by between 34 and 80 percent in the past 20 years, environmental protection staff revealed on Monday.

Thank God. Readers with long memories may recall when our city had to stop using the tourism slogan "Hong Kong will take your breath away"- because it was too accurate.

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