I’m not kidding, either: unless you know how to grade a load of mixed non-ferrous scrap metal, this post really isn’t going to be of much interest. Still reading? Okay, then, one more thing: to fully appreciate this post, it will help to have some familiarity with the alleged Ningbo scrap kidnapping that took place in late October, and which I’ve documented – at some length, here and here and here (and that’s just for starters).
To be clear: I’d just about sworn off additional scrap kidnapping-related posts when – on November 24 – the dimwits at Xinhua, China’s state-owned news agency, decided to run an article entitled “Police refute so-called kidnap of British businessman.” As the title suggests, the article is based upon information given to Xinhua by Ningbo’s police. This would be problematic under most circumstances, but in the case of this alleged kidnapping, it is doubly so: the investigation was apparently conducted by an economic crimes officer in Ningbo; the alleged kidnapper is one of Ningbo’s largest state-owned enterprises (the Xinhua article appears to have been written in response to this very good Financial Times article).
[Interlude: If for no other reason, the Xinhua article must be considred a minor classic for this passage, alone:
During [alleged kidnapee] Srivastav’s stay in Ningbo, [alleged kidnapper] Meng said he had accompanied Srivastav to bars, shops and the wedding of a friend. “He was impressed, calling us forgiving Chinese friends.”]
In any event, the state-owned company’s defense, repeated in the Xinhua story and elsewhere, is that the kidnapping could not be considered a kidnapping because Gold Arrow, the British scrap trading company involved in this dispute, had breached a contract by sending aluminum and iron scrap to Ningbo, when the contract had specified a mixed copper load (“Guanghe claimed it found only aluminium and iron in the scrap in October“). That is to say: a commercial dispute cannot be a kidnapping (see above referenced FT article for more on cultural misunderstandings). Obviously, this is total BS. But putting aside a discussion of just what constitutes a kidnapping, let’s instead ask: was there copper in Gold Arrow’s shipments to Ningbo?
Below, are four photos. They show the contents of four of the disputed Gold Arrow containers. Click on each image for an enlargement.
Looks like copper to me. But I’m just a scrap blogger/journalist. What say you, scrap readers?
[Final note: Is it just me, or does the Xinhua story read as if it was written by someone at the British Foreign Office?]