Hong Kong is fueled by drugs, sex, and debauchery … until you get here

Asian girls

Not as fun as they look.

When I arrived in Hong Kong nearly three years ago, I touched down expecting a new life to unfold before me. One of depravity, decadence and unfettered hedonistic debauchery.

I had visions of naked women lined up on bar tops, their torsos sprinkled with cocaine, begging me to dispossess them of their last vestiges of self respect.

I would be pouring absinthe on my cornflakes and mainlining Red Bull. It was to be the start of a lust-fueled, drug-enhanced, 100-miles-an-hour-Jesus-I-hope-I-don’t-die life (in a good way).

I believed.

Fast forward to today and I have developed a few friendships, a semi-decent career and a rather lazy interest in the strange bugs crawling through my garden on Lamma island.

My experience of ‘coke’ has been limited to the teeth-rotting, fizzy liquid version (far unhealthier, I’m sure), and the only ‘benders’ I’ve been on have been the ab machines down the gym.

What the hell went wrong?

It would be too easy to blame the parents. Yes, they cursed me with an overgrown sense of responsibility and a nauseating desire to please the morally superior. But it’s not like I’ve never strayed from the path of righteousness.

And in Hong Kong that path is a tiny, moss-covered trail running quietly beside the raucous eight-lane mega-highway of parties, booze, drugs and sex.

We are told.

An emergency track, to be used only when the debauchery juggernaut has jackknifed and the highway of over-indulgence is gridlocked.

Isn’t it?

Over the last 12 months I have had to consider that my expectations were unrealistically degraded.

I remember the stories from a friend of mine, who lived here a few years ago. His are tales that Hollywood is built on.

He arrived, hot from a successful TV career in London, and immediately got down to work — dealing cocaine. Which he procured from the triads in Kowloon. Which he sold to models and media luvvies. Who thanked him with sex, and booze, and parties, and more sex, and more booze, and more sex.

One of his trips to Bangkok ended with him banging a ladyboy. Another trip to Singapore was spent “evaluating the varying qualities of the Four Floors of Whores.”

I’m pretty sure he wasn’t making it up.

Then there are the media stories. I’d seen various articles with headlines such as “Coked up bankers of Hong Kong,” describing how the suited suavos in their gleaming high-rises snort lines at their desks in order to stay awake.

There are even statistics to back up these claims.

Figures from the government show that instances of cocaine abuse in Hong Kong roughly doubled every year from 1999 to 2007, when they then dipped, nicely coinciding with the financial crash.

But look a little deeper, sniff a little harder (easier for those whose septum has not dissolved) and the hedonistic varnish disintegrates.

My friend’s stories are memorable precisely because they are so rare. The headlines stand out because most of us have never witnessed this behavior, and have to read about it instead.

The stats of drug abuse are actually paltry — most recent figures show that there were 684 instances of cocaine abuse in 2008. OK I know the vast majority of lines snorted are not done under the nose of a policeman with a clipboard, but still … 684? That’s a couple weekends’ worth for some people isn’t it?

It all amounts to a seriously disappointing over-achievement. I came to revel in humanity’s wretchedness, and what I got was a pleasant middle-class life.

Let this be a lesson to all those who set their sights too low.



  1. Good read.. Thanks,
    I am in Hong Kong and Macau for the boxing in November.. Anyone know where I may be able to procure some if this great fizzy cola that Paul is talking about?

  2. Your looking in the wrong places. Hong kong is still insane it’s just not sitting out for you to arrive at. I grew up here lived here, went to uni and just came back. All still here. When you have the right connection for coke (ofcourse I mean fizzy soda) it is unlike any of the crap around in the west. Pure. Hope things are going better. I would be happy to provide some suggestions if you really want to party. No I am not being a creep, I just love Hong Kong and have always had legendary weekends, weekdays. Sucks if your not when you can be.

    • Ha! Thanks for the offer. I’ll hit you up if I’m ever in need 🙂 Though I wasn’t really complaining to be honest. Just an observation. I love this city too. Just for different reasons than I expected to.

    • Paul, I definitely need this connection of yours over the next week.

  3. raventao says:

    Hilarious. Thanks for the great post! Lol! 🙂

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