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The Takeaway

By Mark Harland


Hong Kong based thriller

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£9.99

978-0-993589577

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In 1997 Britain's last major overseas territory, the colony of Hong Kong, was handed back to Communist China. Just as it reneged on the 1842 Treaty of Nanking, in 2020 - the 'Year of the Rat' - so it ratted on the Joint Declaration signed by both nations to guarantee the future stability of the new Special Administrative Region.

It wasn't long before the Chinese politburo started to take control of more than just the downtown traffic. Freedom of speech was curtailed, laws were changed and the 'man on the Shau Kei Wan tram' began to wonder if they would have been better off under British colonial rule. The Handover had morphed into a Takeaway.

What the tram passengers didn't know was that two decades earlier a plan was hatched from over the border in Guandong Province. It was audacious but simple. If the pro-Beijing administration in Hong Kong became too controlling and interfered with their profits then 'Operation Opium' would be launched. China's leader would be assassinated and a new country, the Pearl Delta Republic, would be formed.

Hundreds of millions of dollars had been raised and secreted to fund the Operation. A known Palestinian terrorist, high on the CIA's wanted list, was recruited to do the job. But other forces were also at work with a different motive but equally effective planning.

This isn't just derring-do in the South China Sea. It involves collaboration at the highest levels in London and Washington. Who exactly knew what?

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