wtf?

July 8th, 2008

Wow. In a comment on this post, Arctosia provides a link to a TVNZ article that suggests maybe Peter Low may have been misinterpreted. But then in a comment on this Public Address thread Russel Brown posts a link to a podcast of Sean Plunkett interviewing Peter Low. As Russel Brown says:

He admits to hiring triad members for personal security (“I got money, I can do anything”) then loses it (“don’t make me angry!”) when Sean Plunket calmly asks him “WTF?”.

Indeed, it is quite a masterful performance. The interview goes well until Low seems to imply that he knows and has perhaps even hired Triads for security. Plunkett seizes this- like any halfway competent interviewer would- and asks why Low associates with criminals. He spends the end of the podcast trying to get a straight answer to the question as to whether or not Low knows and/or associates with Triads, but by that stage Low has descended into completely incoherent rage. Bizarre, truly and utterly bizarre.

Well, first of all it strengthens my impression that Low really is quite naive and inexperienced at dealing with the media. I mean, did he really go into that interview thinking that he could do his ‘hire triads’ thing, and even boast about knowing and having hired triads, without Plunkett asking whether he associates with criminal gangs, and if so, why?

And why does he seem to equate Plunkett describing Triads as criminal gangs- which is something pretty much everybody, including the Triads themselves, accepts- with a personal attack on himself and his Asian Anti-crime Group? Nobody has described the AAG as a criminal gang. Wannabe vigilantes, yes, but there is a slight difference there.

And is this clown really so naive as to think that the Triads really would act as his personal security force? He boasts, by my count at least three times, in that interview that he has money and can do anything. I’m sure the Triads would love to get their hands on that money, and I’m sure once he starts paying them for protection, they’ll be happy to continue extracting protection money. And I’m sure that should Low decide that crime rates have settled back to a reasonable level and the police are as pro-active and responsive enough to satisfy, the Triads will be more than happy to continue extracting protection money. By force, if necessary. Brutal force, the kind that involves thugs armed with steel bars. It’s the oldest Triad trick in the book.

So let’s just get this straight:

  1. There’s nothing wrong with legitimate self-defence, nor is their anything wrong with demanding a more responsive and pro-active Police force and a crackdown on crime. The Police, after all, are those public servants charged with keeping our communities safe from crime.
  2. Vigilantism is a very dangerous thing. There may be times and places where it is appropriate (Somalia springs to mind), but New Zealand is very, very, very far from the kind of state where citizens do need to pro-actively police their own communities. And even so, it’s only one very, very small step from vigilantism to organised crime.
  3. The idea of voluntarily engaging the Triads as a security force is so far beyond stupid that I’m at a loss for words. The Triads have been doing ‘security’ for decades, now. Triad-style security generally goes like this: “Pay me money to protect you.” “Protect me from who?” “Well, pay me money or I’ll send me boys round to beat the shit out of you with steal pipes.” In other words, you pay the Triads to protect you from the Triads.
  4. Paying criminals to protect you from crime? This is such utter lunacy I have to wonder if Monty Python is running the show.

And no, I don’t believe Low has any Triad connections. If he does, he won’t last very long. I mean, what kind of Triad is going to be happy about all the extra attention Low is bringing their way?

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