Asia Chinese History Editor's Blog HK Business HK People Investments News World

“Gum shoes” seeking cheaters

Written by Daniel Otero

Think you might have an unfaithful husband: Call a private detective


By: Daniel Otero



Like the Poirot and Ms. Marple stories of old by Agatha Christie, the private detective has come into a new light once again.  However, not in the essence of the murder mysteries like Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.


Private detectives usually comes from a military or police background.  They retire or leave their government jobs.  In the private sector they make more money.


Following in the same pattern, like the T.V. show “Cheaters”, P.I.’s are coming out of the woodwork in China.


They’re following but not in a classy way the investigative techniques done in old-time Scotland Yard. They’re taking that knowledge into sleazy investigative methods.


For what?  But to have wives call them and investigate their husbands’ alleged hanky-panky.


In truth, with the complexity of the laws in China and subsequent changes, where 50 percent of the couples are now divorcing: property, welfare and children are at stake.


Mega-cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong already have them.  Whether they promote themselves via internet, magazines or newspapers; the word is quickly getting out!


Some of these private detectives, depending on their success rate, will even invest in T.V. commercials. Announcing themselves like this, “Think your husband is cheating on you!  Need proof of his infidelity for your divorce proceedings!  Call so and so, at ____________!”


This ‘gumshoe’ will carry his camera, notepad, recorder and get all the proof required in several days or weeks, while charging at an hourly-rate.  But this is still a service which is rather expensive and caters to the rich or upper-middle class.


If you’re poor or middle-class, oh well, you just have to suck it up!


And with this said, is it correct to go via the sleazy route to catch your husband’s indiscretions?  Some women think is well worth it, to save themselves from the literal ‘poorhouse’, protect their children and well being.


In a country in which male chauvinism is often the highest part of the norm; some men marry and will frequent like ‘a side dish’ a prostitute or mistress on the side, sadly.


Must a woman tolerate this?  No, at least I wouldn’t tolerate it!  Thinking that what’s happening is horrible.


But we must be careful to not turn into a sleazy society where we depend on vulgar proof to hurt those who hurt us first.  Vengeance is powerful, but what happened to forgiveness?


If I can’t just trust my spouse, then why be with her.  And this is the reason, during a courtship, a couple ought to give themselves at least two years to know each other well and another six months of living together.


Conservative or not, times are changing.  And loyalty is the most important glue, other than love, holding two people together.  If there isn’t any, then a couple ought to be apart.


The divorce rate is rapidly climbing, literally skyrocketing!


I don’t agree with private detectives; however, certain women will disagree with me. For some, it’s to have proof and not only protect themselves, but their future.


I still feel, it’s a sad day when the private detective is called to perform such a task in China.


The over commercialism and materialism is already beginning to affect this society in a negative way.


I’d like to think on the virtues of two people coming together for love and not what each can get from each other in wealth.  But that’s where the system is headed, into a clash between the values of old and what’s needed for these present-day circumstances.


The private detective is just one of those people needed, like a necessary evil to defend the rights which often escapes mindlessly in the majority of men: loyalty and treating women as equal partners.

About the author

Daniel Otero

A New Yorker who has been living in China for the past 10 years. He's a freelance writer/journalist and ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher.

A former member of the military with extensive travel to 50 countries and has lived in six.

Lover of life, good food, travel, writing and dealing with social issues.