I went up to the travellers hostel in the evening to see if any old faces were still around and found ‘George’ still living there. George is a ┬álong term tenant of Chung King Mansions who gets very cagey whenever you ask him about his past. ┬áHe told me that John the Book had died in March of this year.

John the book was one of the characters I most remembered of my time in Hong Kong. He survived by selling old magazines or hiring neat clothes to travellers wanting to look nice for interviews. He was nocturnal.

But it was Alan who I met that evening that had the most strange tale to tell.

Alan is on remand at the moment. He is on remand because he was stopped by the police on a routine check, they found a knife and a knuckle duster in his pocket and decided, on this basis, to search his room at the hostel. What they found amazed them.

The police found a whole armoury including home made smoke bombs and a batman like outfit.

Alan had taken a disliking to the triads after splitting with his Chinese wife, so he decided to become a vigilante, getting rid of the scum off of the streets. He is handy with his martial arts so he would dress up in a mask and cape and then pounce on people that were up to no good. One trick he told me was to chuck ball bearings down an alleyway to confuse his prey.

Not being a witness to this I am not sure how comedic this effort would have been and indeed in the beginning I thought he was telling porkies so I doubted the validity of his story. But Alan showed me photocopies of the police report. He also has a video of them searching his room and pictures that the police took of every itemised weapon.

It might just be all true.

Apparently the police quite like him but they have to do their job and prosecute him.

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2 thoughts on “Batman”

  1. Sad news about John the book. I remember him from 1995 until 98 or so. I think he had a bit of altzeimers then. Remember many stories and escapades in travellers. Missing the good old days of hk. Going up the road to jousters,chasers and all the other bars.

  2. We would have been there at around the same time Jim, I arrived a year before the handover and left a month before, so I remember John as a character who slept for most of the day and then owl his way into the night.

    John would make enough money for his bills by renting clothes to people who were having interviews, but the oddest means was by selling old newspapers to people: Or attempting to, I’m not sure if he ever managed but I got offered a few old copies of certain magazines that were telling old stories.

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