Explaining School Middlemen…with Hitmen

Middlemen play large roles in Chinese private education.

Harvard professors told me they were surprised to find that some of their executive students were brought to them by middlemen. If Harvard would charge $20,000, the middleman might charge $40,000 or even $60,000…adding no value. The customer thought the middleman had some sort of “in” when in fact the program was open enrollment.

Middleman also play an important role with new ventures, like Chinese private schools. There may be several intermediaries, each taking a cut, involved in the school’s licensing, real estate, new students, etc.

I thought this story best captured the cultural difference.

Hitman hires hitman who hires hitman who hires hitman who hires hitman who tells police

Five hitmen have been jailed for attempted murder, after each one avoided carrying out the contract themselves so they could make a profit.

Chinese businessman Tan Youhui was looking for a hitman to take out a competitor, Wei Mou, and was willing to pay 2 million yuan (£218,000) to get the job done.

The hitman that Mr Youhui hired, decided to offer the job to another hitman, for half the original price. The second hitman then subcontracted to another hitman, who then subcontracted to a fourth, who gave the job to a fifth.

However, hitman number five was so incensed at how much the value of the contract had fallen, that he told the target to fake his own death, which eventually led to the police finding out about the plot, Beijing News reported.

The businessman and the hapless assassins were all convicted of attempted murder by the court in Nanning, Guangxi, following a trial that lasted three years. The original dispute occurred in 2013, when Wei decided to sue real estate developer Youhui.

Worried he would lose the lengthy court battle, Tan hired a hitman named Xi Guangan to kill Mr Wei. However, Xi contacted another hitman, Mo Tianxiang offering him half the original sum. Mo then decided to contact a third hitman, Yang Kangsheng, who quoted an upfront price of 270,000 Yuan to carry out the hit, with 500,000 Yuan to be handed over once it was done. ‘

However, Yang Kangsheng passed it on to another hitman, Yang Guangsheng, for a further reduced fee. The contract finally came to the fifth hitman, Ling Xiansi, who eventually told the police.