Global Myths No 13

Another story from the travellers' grapevine
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The Independent Travel
A PAIR of journalists were sent to Hong Kong to cover the first Chinese New Year since the handover. It was their first foreign assignment and they were more than a little paranoid, having been told by their editor that the authorities would almost certainly monitor their activities. They tried to keep an eye out for people tailing them as they made their way to their hotel but as far as they could tell, they were not followed.

As they were unpacking their stuff, in the hotel - one the city's plushest - the conversation turned to other ways the Chinese might be monitoring their activities. They poked around the telephones in their rooms, in the air conditioning, behind the lamps and mirrors and around the beadhead but they found nothing. It wasn't until one of them was checking under the bed that he noticed a small bulge under the carpet. He called his colleague, and they decided to investigate further. It took a lot of work but they managed to move the bed and detach the carpets' edges and roll them back. On the floor was a small metal black box with two wires running off it and into the wall. It could only be a bug and they decided to investigate its inner workings. Using a Swiss army knife, they managed to unbolt the device from the floor, which was held in place with four heavy screws. However, when they examined it, they found it contained no electronic parts. Puzzled but reassured they replaced the box, rolled the carpet back and went down to dinner.

Downstairs, they found the lobby in chaos and the restaurant cordoned off. A few minutes previously, a diner had narrowly escaped death when the main chandelier had inexplicably come loose from the ceiling and crashed to the floor.

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