|The victim, the exception|
|Written by Caroline|
|Sunday, 13 May 2007|
The victim of violent crime in Hong Kong
Ben Ford doesn't remember being attacked by a gang of men with choppers. Nor does he appear to hold much resentment for the culprits.
"It's the shock" he explains, when something that severe happens to you, the brain has a way of blocking it out.
But he does recall the pain. The first thing he can remember thinking is ‘oh my hand’.
In less than a minute Ben was dragged from a taxi and suffered multiple injures; he’d had two fingers cut off and all four limbs had been sliced by meat cleavers, smeared in human excrement.
Where the attack occured; outside the Indian Recreation Club in Happy Valley
Fortunately, two men were able to give him quick medical attention and helped to stem the blood loss. His fingers were also put on ice and taken to hospital, where ten surgeons spent up to 15 hours, in the first of a series of operations to reattach his digits and stitch together blood vessels. Doctors at the Chai Wan hospital said they get on average at least one badly cut triad victim every month in their accident and emergency unit.
That incident was more two years ago, in a venue for the Rugby sevens after party, where Ben had just finished as a volunteer barman.
Police investigations centered on a Chinese woman and her Australian boyfriend, who had been kicked out of the party after a scuffle with a bouncer. Working at the same venue, meant Ben had been wearing the same t-shirt as the doorman.
Reflecting on the time Ben says “Someone getting lary after an event like that is not uncommon”. Neither are attacks between triad members. But, this incident is one of the only known chopper assaults on an expatriate in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong triad scene in decline
Professor Chu, a triad expert from Hong Kong University was quoted in the South China Morning Post as saying that the attack was more likely to be the result of young reckless triad members trying to assert their power and a lack of command control, than a change in gang targets.
He said the Hong Kong triad scene is in fact in decline because of a reduction in corruption in the police force and the loss of a traditional income for the criminals, after crackdowns on smuggling and DVD piracy.
Triads remain responsible for about four percent of all crimes in the city including in gambling, prostitution and drugs and are also increasingly look to the Mainland for opportunities, according to Chu.
Ben is optimistic in his recovery and after the initial shock, pain and emotion made a decision to move on. He now has almost full use of his hand, although he can not straighten his fingers fully.
During months of rehabilitation he came across people, who also appear to have suffered the same fate at the hand of triads or their alliances. They exchange knowing looks.
Even though Ben says he knows as a logical person that Hong Kong is a safe place, he is more than just physically scarred by the experience of becoming a victim of violent crime.
|Last Updated ( Monday, 14 May 2007 )|
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