One Hong Kong ex-pat banker who was asked by a Hong Kong newspaper how bad cocaine abuse has gotten on the island estimates that 65% of his co-workers are recreational drug users.
Some even do it at work.
“On the evening of the last day of the 2009 financial year, I know of a team of accountants responsible for calculating traders’ profits at a US investment bank in Hong Kong who snorted cocaine at their desks through the night until 9am in order to continue working.”
Ever since 2005, apparently, a majority of ex-pats on the island have been snorting their faces off.
Most do it on weekend benders.
The drug deliveries begin on Friday afternoon, according to one petite banking industry insider who recently split up with her hedge-fund manager boyfriend after discovering he was nursing a five-gram-a-week cocaine habit.
“Coke dealers in Hong Kong text their customers every Friday afternoon to let them know supplies are in. At the office of one headhunter almost everybody’s mobile beeps at exactly the same time,” she said.
But there are some wild urban legends.
“You hear some dodgy tales here. A guy from one of the big banks was out here on business recently. He arrived on a Monday and was due to have meetings through till Wednesday and Thursday. But he went out Monday night and no one heard from him again until the following Monday. When he got back to his office in Sydney he was fired.”
Unsurprisingly, many of them end up in addiction-recovery programs.
“About half the guys I’ve seen in recovery are white-collar workers. I’ve talked to people who have dropped HK$30,000 in a weekend.”
The tragically infamous death of Neil McCormick obviously reverberates throughout the industry, but nothing has changed.
“What happened to Neil is obviously terribly sad, but it is not that surprising,” says one banker in Hong Kong. “The financial community here is buried in white powder.”
Read the full story, The Coked-Up Bankers of Hong Kong >
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