My Kind of Town

Don Chapman

Thursday, July 29, 2004

The stuff of myths

>> East-West Center

What the hell, Zip Lok wondered, was Doo Wop doing? They were positioned perfectly, as planned, to offer support for the two members of Te-Wu who were inside for a meeting of the second Lama Jey Tsong Khapa with Hawaii's religious leaders. Their job outside would be to cause panic and cloud the air with flash-bang smoke bombs while other colleagues took out police officers and campus security, allowing them all to get away.

It was a bold plan, risky in fact, but it was demanded by Beijing. Time and opportunities to remove the young lama from the list of the regime's problems were running out. Already they had failed twice. Soon he would return to the Himalayas, where the Buddhists could move him about secretly.

And now Doo Wop, who was speaking with a fellow who looked like an American-Chinese businessman, was motioning with his eyes that it was urgent they speak.

Zip Lok glanced at his watch. The meeting was to last an hour, at least. Cursing under his breath in Mandarin, he picked his way around the edge of the crowd to where Doo Wop and the stranger waited.

The stranger pulled a business card from his shirt pocket. "Steven Chee, Bank of the New Territories," Kai Chang, U.S. Marines intelligence officer attached to the FBI, said in Mandarin with a knowing wink. "We've never met, but I know you by reputation. I've always heard good things."

Zip Lok too was totally thrown off. Bank of the New Territories? Does this mean we're allies? But why have I never heard of the Bank of the New Territories? Is it new?

"Tough news yesterday," Kai continued, "about your guy Yu Dip."

"He says he has a friend inside HPD," Doo Wop interrupted. "They say he is talking."

"Impossible!" Zip Lok snapped. "Never!"

No Te-Wu member had ever relented under interrogation, no matter how severe. In the Chinese secret police's 550-year history, its agents had endured much worse than Abu Ghraib, and administered far worse yet.

The crowd continued to swell. Suddenly they were no longer on its fringe, but fully surrounded.

"Perhaps we should speak in a more private location," the stranger suggested, "even speaking Mandarin, you never know ... "

They edged through the crowd, and as they did two agents came up behind both Zip Lok and Doo Wop, sliding a cuff onto each wrist. "FBI," Kai said in Mandarin. "Don't bother fighting, others are near."

At the same time, other agents, including another Mandarin speaker, were grabbing two others, who were found to be carrying hand grenades.

It happened so quick and subtle, none of the assembled media got a whiff of it until later, when it was determined to likely be an urban myth.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Don Chapman is editor of MidWeek. His serialized novel runs daily in the Star-Bulletin. He can be e-mailed at


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