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Michael Bay Attacked In Hong Kong While Shooting 'Transformers'

Joseph Krassenstein |
October 28, 2013 | 12:46 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Transformers director Michael Bay (Creative Commons/Kaje_Yomama)
Transformers director Michael Bay (Creative Commons/Kaje_Yomama)
After two reported triad extortion attempts and several attack threats, director Michael Bay has concluded the 10-day filming in Hong Kong for scenes in the new “Transformers: Age of Extinction” movie.

Triads refer to the many organized crime groups in surrounding areas of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan that are responsible for contract killing, prostitution, counterfeiting, extortion, drug trafficking and more.

On one of the first days of the shoot, Bay was attacked by a man using an air-conditioning unit as a weapon after Bay refused to pay a demanded fee. The man, known as Mak, demanded around $13,000 (100,000 HKD), almost four times the amount that every vendor that experienced disruptions from filming in the area received.

Mak was detained by a security guard after throwing the air conditioning unit at Bay, who luckily avoided the impact by ducking.

Hong Kong police have arrested Mak and his brother in connection to the incident.

Days later, Bay faced another incident. Four men attempted to extort a large sum of money from crew members while inspecting a rooftop-shot location in Hong Kong’s Kowloon district. Fifteen Hong Kong police officers in riot gear came and arrested one 35-year-old man; however, his three accomplices escaped.

In both these incidents, Police have confirmed that they believe triads were involved.

Hong Kong is known for its trouble with controlling triads. According to the Hong Kong Police Force, in recent years triad-related crimes in Hong Kong have risen nearly 15 percent. However, Steve Vickers, former head of the Royal Hong Kong Police Force’s Criminal Intelligence Bureau, claims “triad related crimes are under reported."

According to Vickers, who told CNN that "the two incidents associated with Transformers are indicative of low-level attempts to extort money from a big production by persons who may be triad members.”

 “These triads strangle the oxygen out of the local movie scene. They’re not just extorting people for money. It’s control of movies, starlets, and distribution," Vickers added.

According to the South China Morning Post, Bay said, “It was kind of scary. The Hong Kong crew was embarrassed."

However, Bay also said he was pleasantly surprised by the apologies he was receiving from locals. “In the restaurants, in the hotel, I must have had 30 people coming to me saying, ‘I’m so sorry.' But it was such a silly incident,” Bay said.

Transformers' filmmakers shot about 30 to 35 minutes of footage in Hong Kong, a significant portion of the film's two-plus hour time cap.

Bay and his 100-person crew left today to film at Wulong in Chongqing and on the Great Wall in Beijing.

Reach Staff Reporter Joseph Krassenstein here



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