China/Hong Kong markets in everything

by on December 8, 2013 at 5:34 pm in Education | Permalink

Rich mainland parents are paying thousands of Hong Kong dollars to private investigators to spy on their children studying in Hong Kong, including PhD students and kindergarteners.

Four detective agencies said they handled on average “a few” to “a dozen” week-long investigations for mainland parents every month.

“The number has more than doubled compared to a few years ago,” said Kar Liu, a private eye at Wan King On Investigations.

Philic Man Hin-nam, founder and director of Global Investigation and Security Consultancy, an all-woman detective agency, said that mainland student cases accounted for about 40 per cent of the more than 100 requests made by parents last summer for information on their children.

The majority of family cases were instigated by Hong Kong parents who had reason to fear their children were involved with drugs or being led astray.

“Many mainland students studying in Hong Kong are single children from rich families,” Liu of Wan King On Investigations said. “Those parents attach great importance to their children’s behaviour.”

…Typically, a team of three agents monitor a student, taking photos and reporting back to parents daily.

There is more here, via Mark Thorson.

1 So Much for Subtlety December 8, 2013 at 5:39 pm

“The number has more than doubled compared to a few years ago,” said Kar Liu, a private eye at Wan King On Investigations.

At least they didn’t say he was a private dick. And Wan King On Investigations.

Come on, surely this is a joke? Chinese parents must have a much better way of checking up on what their future retirement funds are doing.

And the link does not seem to work for me.

2 gwern December 8, 2013 at 5:56 pm
3 Steve Sailer December 8, 2013 at 6:33 pm

I’m so glad that the white bread culture of America is getting globalized and thus made more vibrant: see what we have to look forward to!

4 So Much for Subtlety December 8, 2013 at 6:59 pm

I am not sure what you are trying to say. This is the fault of White America? How? In the old days, parents relied on colleges to act in loco parentis. Since the Sixties, of course, they have not bothered. But Western parents seem to have come to terms with their children slutting it up.

That Mainland parents have not is no surprise. But is this new? I doubt that many parents sent their children to Hong Kong to study in the old days. But I bet that when they did send them anywhere, they sent a family servant with them, one of whose many jobs would have been reporting to the parents on what the son was up to.

China has always had a vibrant culture of rich young men wasting their parents’ money instead of working hard. In the Song dynasty (about a thousand years ago) the capital had a very busy prostitution industry which must have been aimed at young men coming to the capital for their exams. So little I see here is new. Except that they can buy, and crash, Ferraris these days whereas they couldn’t have in the past. Oh, and the parents can’t quietly drown them if they disappoint them in the exams these days.

So this seems less of an export and more of a return to tradition. The more interesting news out of China is that they are dropping English like a hot potato. It will be removed from the University Entrance Examination. That looks like a return to tradition and a rejection of the West.

5 ummm December 8, 2013 at 9:49 pm

yea..i’m failing to draw the connection between this story and white bread culture.

6 Rahul December 8, 2013 at 11:25 pm

There should be a contest: Is there any news item that Steve Sailer will not try to associate with his pet agendas? He’s really honed this into an art form.

7 Roy December 9, 2013 at 9:41 am

That family servant sent to watch the young master, incompetently, is a stock character in many a kung fu film, in fact that character type even exists in 1300 year old Tang dynasty short fiction. I even vaguely remember a 16th century story where a new retainer is actually recruited by the patriarch to spy because the heir is too good at manipulating the servants.

8 Careless December 10, 2013 at 9:30 am

He’s saying the opposite, AFAICT: we’re importing Chinese culture, so we can look forward to this.

9 Thor December 8, 2013 at 7:45 pm

What’s with the bitterness and snark? We’ve been spying on our kids since Polonius and Laertes.

10 ummm December 8, 2013 at 9:44 pm

Steve yearns for the past…steam locomotives and stuff like that

11 prior_approval December 9, 2013 at 1:06 am

And attentive porters. Especially those that have enjoyed the benefits of stricter moral guidance from society.

12 anon December 9, 2013 at 8:29 am


13 F. Lynx Pardinus December 8, 2013 at 10:51 pm

I’m reminded of the opening sequence of Dennis Lehane’s “Moonlight Mile.”

14 Daniel J December 8, 2013 at 11:27 pm

Tyler I have an odd off topic question. How would one calculate the cost of a wage subsidy program in the US. Not a tax credit but an actual transfer payment. I’m assuming a model would have to be used. In South Africa they used a CGE model. Also has this already been calculated because I can’t find it.

15 chuck martel December 8, 2013 at 11:43 pm

This has to be happening in the US as well.

16 prior_approval December 9, 2013 at 1:11 am

Well, we are more gung ho individualists in the U.S. –

(Added satirical bonus – gung ho has everything to do with teamwork – ‘The term was picked up by United States Marine Corps Major Evans Carlson from his New Zealand friend, Rewi Alley, one of the founders of the Chinese Industrial Cooperatives. Carlson explained in a 1943 interview: “I was trying to build up the same sort of working spirit I had seen in China where all the soldiers dedicated themselves to one idea and worked together to put that idea over. I told the boys about it again and again. I told them of the motto of the Chinese Cooperatives, Gung Ho. It means Work Together-Work in Harmony….”[2]

Later Carlson used gung ho during his (unconventional) command of the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion. From there, it spread throughout the U.S. Marine Corps (hence the association between the two), where it was used as an expression of spirit and into American society as a whole when the phrase became the title of a 1943 war film, Gung Ho!, about the 2nd Raider Battalion’s raid on Makin Island in 1942.’

17 Axa December 9, 2013 at 6:01 am

A little context:

“Traditionally, residence halls were occupied by male students who were forced to adhere to strict dress codes, compulsory chapel services, curfews and even fitness regimens. Until the 1830s, Harvard students were required to purchase, chop and haul their own firewood back to the dorms (while dodging the livestock and pigpens that crowded the university’s campus). Dorm mothers enforced the rules, and executed a strict “lights-out” policy (which also helped trim electricity bills). Eventually, restrictions loosened and posters and pin-ups became standard dorm decor — a racy way to compensate for the lack of female presence.”

Read more: The Evolution of the College Dorm – Photo Essays – TIME,29307,1838306,00.html#ixzz2myThjt43

18 Axa December 9, 2013 at 6:17 am

Thus, college dorms offer more or less the same product as chinese detectives. Parents agree to pay a higher price for accommodation on campus compared to living off campus. The expected service is someone looking after junior and making sure the chosen one doesn’t do too much drugs.

19 Rahul December 9, 2013 at 6:28 am

Perhaps the distinction between a discreet spy versus a declared policeman?

20 Andreas Moser December 9, 2013 at 8:25 am

Wait until the NSA finds out about this market.

21 anon December 9, 2013 at 8:32 am

If you know many Chinese families this will not surprise you. From what I have heard Indian parents are similar. (And both have great cuisines!)

22 Thor December 9, 2013 at 11:22 am

Mothers cooking while waiting for reports on their sons?

23 ElamBend December 9, 2013 at 2:19 pm

If you put all your eggs, er egg, in one basic, you must watch that basket.

24 Karen December 11, 2013 at 2:28 am

Rich mainland parents like to send their children to HongKong for further study, it’s being a trend. USA also is the place that parents are willing to go.

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