Feeding Frenzy

Why trust a shark? Hong Kong has a preponderance of what can be described as scuzzy little restaurants, where the food is cheap and usually doesn't kill you.

We ate at one such place in Wan Chai, a district with a higher than average SLR quotient. This was one of those off the beaten path places where round-eyes won't eat. If you have any hope of enjoying your meal, you must ignore every ingrained alarm bell going off in your head regarding sanitary conditions and go with the flow.

"... the food is cheap and usually doesn't kill you."

Never look into the kitchen of a Chinese restaurant before you eat. I know, I've done it.

Why did we eat there? Call me adventurous. Or stupid.

Returning home from that gastric nightmare, we passed a street vendor with a push-cart filled with purses and other handbags.

Have you ever seen a feeding frenzy, where dozens of sharks mass-attack a large, wounded sea creature and rip it to shreds? The vendor was surrounded by about 15 women, all rifling through the cart, tossing bags everywhere. He left himself no clear line of escape and was trapped.

The fool.

· ƒ ·

Meanwhile, Hong Kong's largest pirated disc syndicate was destroyed at a remote factory in the New Territories, near Deep Bay. 120 Customs officers seized 1.6 million VCDs and compact discs, worth $48 million.

Several Hollywood films not yet released in Hong Kong were in production: Lake Placid, Sixth Sense, Summer of Sam and Mystery Men. During a 24-hour period, 60,000 optical discs could be manufactured on three production lines.

Last year, Customs seized 39 million pirated discs worth $960 million. This year, 8.8 million pirated discs worth $160 million have been seized and 1,381 suspects arrested. Eight unlicensed disc factories have been raided and 12 production lines impounded.

When you look at it, it's just a different kind of feeding frenzy.

September 11, 1999

Next Tale: A Can of Whoop-Ass