One County, Two Systems, Six Men

The one country is China.  The two systems are Hong Kong and mainland China.

There are two crimes, one in each system.  

In the case in Hong Kong (Sing Tao via Yahoo! News), six individuals belonging to the Wo Sing Wo triad were arrested for being part of an international soccer-betting syndicate.  The organization reportedly collects HK$140 million per month from all over the world through a high-tech operation involving satellite television dishes, large screen television screens, ten computers, thirty computer monitors, plus printers, fax machines and ... of course ... paper shredders.

In the case in mainland China (via Wenxue City), six men in Zhengzhou (Henan) were arrested for getting three females drunk with 28 bottles of beer and then hauling them off to bathhouses for gang rape.  Afterwards, one of them even left his address with one female, who then reported to the police who arrested all six men.

In each cases, the police paraded the suspects in front of the media.  The two photos are shown below.  Can you tell which photo came from which system?


The photo with the hoods came from Hong Kong.  There are two considerations.  First, these individuals are only suspects who are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty, and they may yet be acquitted.  The hoods are there to protect their privacy.  Secondly, they may have to go through a police line-up to be identified by witnesses, and showing their faces may contaminate the identification process.  These points do not appear to be considered in mainland China.

In the Hong Kong case, the suspects are identified as a 36-year-old named Hung with a prior arrest for operating illegal gambling; a 43-year-old named Tan with a prior for disturbing the peace; a 48-year-old named Leung; a 38-year-old named Chan; a 32-year-old Macau resident named To with a prior arrest for narcotics; a 40-year-old Macau resident named Luk.  All are unemployed, except Luk is a casino dealer.  Since there are tens of thousands of people with those last names, they are in fact not identifiable from the news reports alone.  At this time, these suspects have been arrested but charges have not been filed yet.

In the mainland China case, the suspects are all identified by their full names.  The report indicates that they are suspects and the investigation is continuing.

What happens in the United States?  Court proceedings are open records, and the names of the suspects are published.  It is not usual to parade suspects to the media in a full conference after an arrest, with or without hoods.  It is more common to exhibit other physical evidence (such as those in this photo below of the hi-tech equipment in the Hong Kong case).  

However, it is also well-known that American prosecutors will make a few discrete telephone calls to the media to tell them to wait at a certain entrance in the courthouse at a certain hour when the suspects will be brought in and out for court appearances.  This parading of the suspects in handcuffs before the media is known as the "perp walk."  Usually, the "perps" (=perpetrators) will be covering their faces with clothes or hands.  An alternate term is "frog march" to describe forcibly propelling prisoners forward while pinning or handcuffing the arms behind them, leaving them with no means of covering the faces.  The photo below shows Enron's Ken Lay being frog-marched; it was not as if this man was going to harm himself or others.  These public shows are favored by publicity-hungry prosecutors, the most famous of which is Rudi Giuliani.  This is not necessarily illegal, but it is ethically challenged.

While we are on this subject, here are two more photos from another Hong Kong case currently on trial.  Who is the 'perp' here?  Since the singular is used, only one of the two is a 'perp.'  If you think it is the person holding the bag up, you are wrong.  This is the case of the drunken American sailor Anthony Jon Moore from the USS Kitty Hawk (see previous post), and the guy holding up the bag is the taxi driver assaulted by Moore.  Why should the victim be more afraid of the media than the 'perp'?