More Money, More Problems: Chinese Wealthy Paying For Kidnap Survival Classes

When coming into new wealth, people may start spending on luxuries like fancy new cars, large homes or extravagant vacations. Some other people may want to spend their newfound wealth on something a little more unique.

According to a report by local Chinese newspaper Northern News, a company in the southern city of Shenzhen is offering a "simulated kidnapping experience" to those willing to pay for it. For 100,000 yuan, or about $16,360, customers can experience various moments of captivity and eventual escape. The company’s "Elite Danger Class" is an instructive course for people needing guidance on how to behave during a kidnapping and how to eventually escape. Think of it as wilderness-survival training, only for very specific ransom scenarios.

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Most of the people who sign up for the classes are the extremely wealthy and believe being kidnapped is a reality that they could potentially face. According to China Navis, the class will serve as a pre-emptive education in case an incident of kidnapping or hostage-taking arises, something that has happened in the past.

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Hostage-takings in China are almost always related to money. Most recently, an American executive of a medical supplies company, Chip Starnes, was held hostage by a group of factory workers over claims of unequal severance packages that were announced after layoffs. Roughly 100 or so employees were responsible for holding Starnes at the company’s Beijing factory -- they also claimed that they hadn’t been paid some of their wages.

A Forbes story reported that while business disputes in the U.S. or in Western culture in general is often handled in courts or through various legal procedures, don’t expect the Chinese to settle their disputes through their lawyers. Particularly with smaller or private companies, it is not entirely uncommon for people to resort to physical abduction until debts are paid or money terms are settled. While hostage situations have rarely turned violent, ensuring that local authorities have no reason to intervene, the reality is that negotiating oneself out of varying degrees of danger is something that many high-powered business people end up needing to know.

Still, a 100,000 yuan course seems like a ridiculous price tag to pay for preparation of something that may or may not happen. Fortunately for the people running the classes, while they can’t sell "guaranteed safety," they can still capitalize on selling a sense of security. 

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