August 23, 2006

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Albert Ho's bashing

Hong Kong politician Albert Ho is on the mend and vowing not to be intimidated by the thugs that bashed in a McDonalds in Central on Sunday. The police are working extra extra extra hard on the case, says the government, protesting just a touch too much. It seems the likely cause of the bashing was related to Ho's legal work rather than his politics, which is both a relief and a worry.

But there's a factor in this case that no one is talking about, simply because it's accepted wisdom. How is it that 3 thugs can walk into a McD's in the middle of Central on a busy Sunday afternoon, where at least 150 people were dining or working, and bash a man with baseball bats without anyone doing anything about it? The original reports said most patrons ran from the restaurant. The common perception is that it is better not to get involved, especially when its the Triads. But this permissiveness is part of a culture that allows organised crime to survive and thrive.

It's impossible to say for certain, but I wonder if the same 3 thugs would have got away if they'd walked into a McDonald's in the middle of Manhattan, or London, or Sydney?

posted by Simon on 08.23.06 at 09:46 AM in the Hong Kong category.


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McD on Sunday in Central means the shop is full of domestic helpers. Surely it's beyond the call of duty for them to stand up to triad thugs?

posted by: VinceA on 08.23.06 at 12:17 PM [permalink]

I was pondering the same thing, but barring the intervention of security guards, I'm not sure it would have been that different in london or sydney. First, there is the element of shock and surprise. Second, if I was ever McD's it would be with my kid and selfish as it might sound, I'd be more worried about protecting her.

Maybe in the US, someone would have pulled a gun out, but do we really want that?

posted by: fernando on 08.23.06 at 04:10 PM [permalink]

200 maids aside, there were three guys with bats or wooden rods. What would you use in a McDonald's to take it up to them? All the chairs and tables are fixed to the floor - the only thing you'd have to hand is the tray your meal was served on. From now on Mr Ho should make sure he only eats in restaurants that cater for guests who may need improvised weapons.

posted by: Adrian on 08.23.06 at 10:34 PM [permalink]

Contrasts with a story a few months back about 3 men who wrestled down and disarmed a man with a gun attempting to rob a Korean woman. When I read that I thought well, that wouldn't happen in NYC or London.

posted by: shwe on 08.24.06 at 07:50 AM [permalink]

From reading this, nobody here visits mcdonalds in central, or the states.

It is highly unlikely any one would have a gun in the States just walking around McDonalds. Unless they were in Texas, where you can conceal and carry, but I'm serious, the whole context would be different.

And te chairs in that McDonald's are not rooted to the floor.

I have a serious question. Why didn't Ho's colleagues fight back? Are they that cowed? Or that thankful it was Ho and not them?

posted by: doug on 08.24.06 at 08:42 AM [permalink]

They should have given the thugs several burgers each. That would have dropped 'em on the spot with all those saturated fats.

posted by: HK Dave on 08.24.06 at 12:38 PM [permalink]

Apparently one of the Dems did step in and took some minor injuries.

A lot of research has been done on the diffusion of responsiblity. In otherwords, if there are too many people, everyone assumes someone else will do something and noone does anything. So if shit happens, be the first to step up, since almost no one else will.

posted by: Andrew Work on 08.30.06 at 04:30 PM [permalink]

In NYC, someone would have called the cops, and the thugs would have been rounded up in minutes. In Texas, a patron would have gone back to his car and pulled a gun, and all three thugs would have meekly surrendered, or risked gunshot wounds. Note that a Beretta 92F holds fifteen rounds. That's five rounds for each individual without reloading.

posted by: Zhang Fei on 09.02.06 at 01:16 AM [permalink]

ZF: Note that a Beretta 92F holds fifteen rounds. That's five rounds for each individual without reloading.

Note also that a pump shotgun holds five rounds. A single round can hit all three guys if they're bunched up. Shotgun blasts can also turn entire limbs into shards of bone no amount of reconstructive surgery can restore.

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