A Chinese journalist was checking out a tip that police had discovered a woman’s body this week when he was stopped by private security guards who beat him so badly he was hospitalized.
His assailants have since been fired, but the incident highlighted a widespread problem in China: undisciplined, poorly trained guards who are little more than thugs and often resort to violence. Many are temporary workers from organized crime groups, or “black societies” in the local slang, that operate throughout the country.
Moreover, companies sometimes use their guards as heavies to break up protests by workers or residents and to settle souring business deals or relationships. Some foreigners doing business in China have found themselves victims of such tactics.