Exploring China's bodyguard industry
2013-08-18 08:16:00

  Bodyguards in training. Demand for bodyguards in China is increasing, however the industry is highly secretive, and has some strange characteristics.[Beijing Morning Post] 

  Bodyguards in training. Demand for bodyguards in China is increasing, however the industry is highly secretive, and has some strange characteristics.


  At a hidden training center in Changping District, Beijing, a legendary bodyguard instructor was shouting at his students.

  "What's more important than life? Think about the person who is hiring you, it means he trusts you with his life," said Chen Yongqing, a former soldier from the Special Operations Forces of the People’s Liberation Army Ground Force. "Can you let your mistakes cost his life? No, absolutely not! You cannot neglect any dangers, because they always appear suddenly!"

  After Chen retired from the army, he founded a security service company, Beijing Morning Post reported, providing services for film stars like Jackie Chan, Maggie Cheung and famous entrepreneurs such as Li Yanhong. In 2010, the Shanghai Expo called upon 300 “security advisors,” who could be drivers, assistants, secretaries, guides, paramedics or nurses, when required, all from Chen's company.

  Chen also collaborated with Israel's International Security Academy (ISA) to train bodyguards.Marco Borge is their chief instructor; his courses include Israel combat, FBI mind reading, special spy techniques, stunt driving, anti-terrorism and international business etiquette.

  For Chen, security is always a big deal. "One second distraction may cause mission failure," he said. After professional training, bodyguards are able to take bullets for their employer. "This is not a noble form of behavior, this is an obligation."

  There are huge demands for professional bodyguards in China, even though there are only about 5,000 security companies. In developed cities, the average monthly salary is at between 8,000 - 10,000 yuan (US$1,309-1,637). In Hong Kong and Macao, bodyguards can earn more than 400,000 yuan per year. Bodyguards don't get paid according to their status, but according to who hires them, the level of danger and their own professional ability.

  "China has a ban on guns," Marco Borge said, "The environment is relatively safe. So my charge is 7,500 euro a month!"

  But as well as top bodyguards like Marco Borge, there are also many informal bodyguards in the industry. An executive from Beijing Gold Shield Security Company claimed that more than half of employers in China hire bodyguards, not for security but to show off, because having a bodyguard can raise somebody’s social status and create a positive impression on their business partners. Good-looking female bodyguards are bosses’ favorites and they can earn much more because they accompany their bosses, drinking on their behalf or helping in conversation during dinner banquets, and they can also protect their bosses at key moments.

  In China, however, some informal bodyguards have no moral or legal bottom-line. "In China, we don't use guns,” Chen said, “our bodyguards never attack first. The bottom-line is the law. No matter how much money an employer gives us, if something is illegal, we will not obey the order, and we will not stand in the way of law enforcement. This is written in our formal contracts."

  "To be a bodyguard, you have to rely completely on yourself. You have no backup. You need intelligence to analyze and judge the situation. A good professional bodyguard has to continue to learn. You have to learn about the most advanced weapons, the most advanced technologies, the best anti-tracking techniques and the newest methods of attack that could be used on you."

Source:China.org.cn Editor:Charlie Huang