American director Michael Bay, while on location in Quarry Bay filming a scene for the latest Transformers installment, was reportedly assaulted by suspected triad members who demanded 100,000 HKD as compensation for filming inconveniences.
Reports began circulating on Thursday about two men who attacked and injured Bay and his filming crew while on location in Hong Kong this week, and the director took to his web site to tell the story.
“Some drugged-up guys were being belligerent asses to my crew for hours… One guy rolled metal carts into some of my actors trying to shake us down for thousands of dollars to not play his loud music or hit us with bricks,” Bay wrote.
“Every vendor where we shot got paid a fair price for our inconvenience, but he wanted four times that amount. I personally told this man and his friends to forget it we were not going to let him extort us.
“He didn’t like that answer. So an hour later he came by my crew as we were shooting, carrying a long air conditioner unit. He walked right up to me and tried to smack my face.
“But I ducked, threw the air unit on the floor and pushed him away. That’s when the security jumped on him. But it took seven big guys to subdue him. It was like a Zombie in Brad Pitt’s movie ‘World War Z’ he lifted seven guys up and tried to bite them.”
The two ‘drugged-up guys’ were allegedly brothers who owned a ground-floor shop in the area. They were accused of moving goods in and out of the shop and putting bricks on the ground to cause obstruction, claiming that the shooting was affecting their business.
The men then demanded a hefty 100,000 HKD compensation before getting into a “scuffle” with the police, injuring three officers.
The two brothers were arrested on suspicion of blackmail and assault. Officers also arrested another man at the scene, all three of whom were suspected triad members, according to SCMP.
Wellington Fung, secretary general of the Film Development Council, said the Film Services Office had guidelines for location filming and normally film companies would negotiate with landlords of private properties and would not begin shooting without agreeing rental charges for their premises.
A notice at the Fook Cheong Building says preparation and filming there would take 19 days and that the film company would pay the owners’ corporation HK$20,000 a day. Lee Ching-har, of the corporation, said shop owners negotiated compensation individually.
According to Bay, “it took fifteen Hong Kong cops in riot gear to deal with these punks,” adding, “After that, we had a great day shooting here in Hong Kong. The place couldn’t be better.”