Suspicious financial suspicions shock

Hong Kong reels in outraged disbelief and horror today at suggestions that money laundering takes place in the city.

For years, we’ve assumed that hundreds of people line up all day, every day at New Territories bank branches to deposit identical sums of cash for totally innocent and wholesome reasons, and that money-changers line the streets purely for tourists’ convenience, and that real-estate transactions involving multiple apartments at weird prices must obviously be perfectly legitimate. And we all know that China is destined for ever-greater prosperity and success, while the West is collapsing into chaos – so no-one could possibly want to illicitly move their wealth out of the Mainland into doomed democracies, could they?

Meanwhile Hong Kong’s former Home Affairs Secretary Patrick Ho, facing bribery charges in the US, has asked for help from Beijing, describing the case as an attempt to discredit ‘Belt and Road’, and pledged not to betray his friends and country. If I were in his position and I wanted to hint to higher powers that I might squeal, this is how I would do it – perhaps. But I’m no expert.

For anyone following the Invasion of the Fake Twitter Accounts Saga, the bot plot clots thickens. Out of the flood of phony followers, one reveals himself as a genuine person. Basically: highly respected techie-type goes through the fairly tedious and hard-to-automate steps involved in joining Twitter and becomes an apparent ‘bot’.

It seems that if (out of haste or indifference) you just follow the default sign-up steps, you not only get that anonymous grey head-and-shoulders picture, but you are assigned a clunky username with lots of numbers, and pretty much invited to follow a bunch of existing accounts – some based on your geographical location, some big famous international celebs.

Why would there be a sudden flood of these? A mysterious puppet-master is a possibility. But another explanation is that some other app or online service (for kiddies, I bet) is requiring new subscribers to open a Twitter account, as some require a Facebook one (Facebook’s recent fall from grace being a possible factor). Not everyone is convinced, but I like this theory – it is non-creepy and restores my faith in tech and human nature.

Tomorrow is May 1 – here is your guidance on recommended reading.

If it’s not one thing, it’s another – today’s neighbourhood mystery…


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9 Responses to Suspicious financial suspicions shock

  1. oldgit says:

    One is surprised that anyone is surprised at an increase in the number of STRs.

    The AML law imposes severe penalties for failure to report and the Organised and Serious Crimes Ordinance is regularly used to lock up failures. Therefore, bankers report anything and everything unless they personally know their customers. That way, not only are they covered, but also the quality of STRs is inversely proportionate to the number of STRs.

    In other words, AML rules are producing useless information and annoying just about everyone, including the regulators. It is window-dressing to meet FATF rules imposed on Hong Kong.

    Anyway, we have only just got started on this twaddle: wait for the number of STRs to hit a million once trustee and company secretarial licencing gets into its stride.

  2. Big Al says:

    Interesting article on Tubby Ho. ““For it is not only Ho who is on trial, it is CEFC, the company, [the] country and Chinese values”. Presumably these “values” including bribing whomever and whenever possible? I’m still waiting to hear that this trial hurts the feelings of the Chinese people. Also waiting for the defence team to use the “M” word, i.e. to claim that Tubbby was “merely” providing a financial incentive to government officials in Africa to think correctly. This is going to be fun!

  3. Knownot says:

    For the holiday.

    Chinese historians have been encouraged to fight “historical nihilism” and defend the history of the Communist Party of China.

    Qu Qingshan, head of the Party History Research Office of the CPC Central Committee said such thoughts seek to distort the history of modern China’s revolution, the CPC and the armed forces under the guise of “reevaluation”.

    Qu said that resisting and opposing historical nihilism is a form of political combat.

    “One key weapon against historical nihilism is to stick to historical materialism and always seek truth from facts,” Qu said.

    China Daily 2017.07.03

    – – – – – – – –


    History is not quite true.

    First, it is tainted by the writer’s point of view.
    There are errors and omissions, balances and checks,
    Depending on age or sex,
    Or class or religious affiliation,
    Or race or nation,
    Or pride or shame; without intention,
    He or she obeys convention.

    Second, the past, the distant past, is not a printed book
    Where one may easily look.
    The paper is powdery, the binding is worn,
    Pages are missing or torn;
    The ink has faded; the script, in a language now dead,
    Can hardly be read.
    Events or people seem important now, but did they then?
    Some things are beyond our ken.
    So, for example, a History of Rome is, perhaps,
    Composed of scraps.
    As for the recent past, there is a surfeit of stuff,
    More than enough,
    So the print is tiny, the margins crammed,
    And online, barely dammed,
    A flood of bytes, giga- and tera-,
    Which promote – knowledge? – or error?
    Photos are shopped, films are blurred,
    Audio tapes can hardly be heard;
    So a History of NATO is, perhaps,
    Composed of scraps.

    In short: history is not a full account, a complete list;
    It is the record that happens to exist.
    We may doubt it, we should be circumspect,
    But it deserves our respect;
    Most historians, in ‘the west’,
    Do their best.

    We turn now to ‘the east’,
    Where it is called ‘history’, at least,
    Though it has a different aim,
    The methods are not the same,
    And where ‘seek truth from facts’ is a contradiction
    Stranger than fiction.

    ‘Literary reportage’ is, I have read, a genre in Chinese
    Where you can write almost anything you please.
    You report a true situation or event
    Which is then modified or bent
    Or ‘sexed up’, as they used to say in Britain –
    Sensationally rewritten –
    So it becomes reportage of an unusual kind,
    And the readers don’t mind.

    That is how the Party wants ‘history’ to be seen,
    And this is what ‘facts’ mean:
    If it re-evaluates the Party’s act,
    It is not a fact.
    If the good name of – a certain person – is blacked,
    It is not a fact.
    If it undermines our Socialist contract,
    It is not a fact.
    If the integrity of the country is attacked,
    It is not a fact.
    If it may detract
    From love of China, it is not a fact.
    If it may attract
    A question or a doubt, it is not a fact.
    If it has a nihilist impact,
    It is not a fact.
    All Party history is good;
    That should be understood.

  4. LRE says:

    Re innocent coincidence explanation of Twitter bots:
    Lovely comforting idea, except for one minor detail — twitter is blocked and banned for kiddies and regular people in China. You can work your way around it, but if you can do that, you’ll probably be paranoid and canny enough to unfollow subversive stuff, and most likely not give a mobile phone out (ie not sign up for it in the first place).

    On top of that, the argument that it’s not likely to be the Chinese government because it would need lots of people and it takes several tedious steps and you need to give them a phone number seems a bit of a non sequitur: the Chinese government is famous for having hired an army of Fifty Cent fanbois* to tediously and repetitively spam up bulletin boards and social media (including stuff banned in China), and I wonder who allocates phone numbers in China, eh?

    So: nice reassuring fantasy, but I’m afraid if you’ve got any sense, it’s back to the paranoid feeling of foreboding and checking your mail is in the right envelopes for you, Hemlock.

    On Patsy Ho — Patsy would do well to look at the career trajectory of other people who declared they were “Just a Patsy”.

    The CPC have already dropped him like the sack of burning proverbial he is. And as Deng Xiaoping famously pointed out: “It doesn’t matter whether a cat is black or white, snitches get stitches.”

    *in flagrant disregard of Winnie the Pooh’s ban on hip hop and rap!

  5. @Knownot – except of course for the bits we’ve swept under the carpet, which are officially no longer history. Orwell appears more prescient every day.

  6. reductio says:


    This is what gonna be goin’ down on Fat Boy if he be a-snichin’ on my SeeSeePee bro’s, y’all hearin’?

  7. Chinese Netizen says:

    Audi: Illegally parked for an inordinate amount of time, later attacked by Howard Wynn or… a cheating husband has been discovered.

    (a little sad there’s no 888 licence #)

  8. LRE says:


  9. hank morgan says:

    so the general explanation is the guy ‘I’m just here for some soy sauce’ also follows Queen of England, Dalai Lama, the pope, Snowden, Joshua Wong, Trump, Michele Obama, Sixth Tone, and Hemlock

    Reminds me of a hundred flowers campaign by proxy

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