In 1989, Australian chef Michelle Garnaut opened M at the Fringe in the historic Dairy Farm building and changed dining culture in Hong Kong at least five years before her competition caught on. A decade later, she opened M on the Bund in Shanghai, turning a stately and taciturn Bund building into an elegant wining and dining destination, where she also launched the city’s first Literary Festival, followed by the opening of the hugely-popular Glamour Bar.
In 1995, UK-born Royal Marine Chris Thrall came to Hong Kong to make his fortune. Once here, his business went bankrupt, and a series of unsuccessful jobs led him to work in Wan Chai as a doorman for one of the biggest triad groups, the 14K. Dwelling in the criminal underworld drove him to drugs; he became addicted to crystal methamphetamine, and suffered from clinical psychosis. Now, 15 years on, he is ready to tell his story, in his new book, Eating Smoke.
Darren Russell (R.I.P.)v
In 2004, Darren Russell, 35, went to China to teach English. His mother says his contract promised many things that didn't materialize, including a work visa. when Darren threatened to blow the whistle on the school's poor working conditions, his passport was confiscated and he was forcibly removed from the school campus. Three days later, Darren dead body was found in a ditch. The Chinese police claim he was hit by a vehicle but refused to release Darren's body to his mother in America unless she agreed with their "official" version of the case. An autopsy conducted later in the U.S. revealed that, in fact, Darren's head had been beaten in. Darren's unfortunate case is a prime example China's lack of enforceable laws from the top-down.