Hong Kong: The Travel Agents

Along the eastern shore of Hong Kong last week the waves rolled in with a tragic flotsam: the bodies of 32 refugees from Red China whose overloaded sampan swamped and sank in mirror-calm seas. They were grim evidence of the desperate craving of thousands of Chinese to make their way from the shackled mainland to the glitter of prosperous Hong Kong, whatever the dangers.

Feeding on their desire are dozens of "travel agents" in Portugal's flyspeck colony of Macao, which juts off Red China's southern shore. What the agents offer is a one-way "ticket," at prices of $70 to $125...

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