90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
On the Snakehead Beat

A big thanks to Patrick Radden Keefe for a fascinating hour today on China’s (and Chinese-America’s) human-smuggling business. Patrick looked at the “snakehead” smugglers based in New York City. Well before their business took off, our host Tom Ashbrook was covering snakeheads in Hong Kong for the South China Morning Post. We’ve got the photo to prove it. Scroll down for a note from Tom about his “snakehead days”…

0723TomChinaWEB

Note from Tom:

In the late 70′s, I was a rookie reporter for the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. A huge story there in those days was the booming business of “snakeheads” smuggling people by boat from mainland China into the then far more prosperous Hong Kong. The press coverage was much like US press coverage of illegal immigrants today, with complaints that the flow of illegals from the mainland encouraged lawlessness and drove down Hong Kong wages. Hong Kong’s small military was happy to have reporters come along on their midnight patrols, looking out for snakeheads.

Patrick Radden Keefe’s description of snakeheads working out of New York brought it all back to me. This photo looks awfully stagey, but I well recall the long night and scanning the watery horizon for the the dark boats and their aspiring cargo. Some people will always be ready to face danger for a chance at a better life. And others will always be ready to be paid for offering the promise of that chance. Call them coyotes, or call them snakeheads.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Sep 2, 2014
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., talks with Mark Wilson, event political speaker chairperson, with his wife Elain Chao, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, at the annual Fancy Farm Picnic in Fancy Farm, Ky., Saturday, August 4, 2012. (AP)

Nine weeks counting now to the midterm elections. We’ll look at the key races and the stakes.

Sep 2, 2014
Confederate spymaster Rose O'Neal Greenhow, pictured with her daughter "Little" Rose in Washington, D.C.'s Old Capitol Prison in 1862. (Wikimedia / Creative Commons)

True stories of daring women during the Civil War. Best-selling author Karen Abbott shares their exploits in a new book: “Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy.”

RECENT
SHOWS
Sep 1, 2014
Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Jarvis Jones (95) recovers a fumble by Carolina Panthers quarterback Derek Anderson (3) in the second quarter of the NFL preseason football game on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 in Pittsburgh. (AP)

One outspoken fan’s reluctant manifesto against football, and the big push to reform the game.

 
Sep 1, 2014
This Friday, Aug. 22, 2014 photo shows a mural in in the Pullman neighborhood of Chicago dedicated to the history of the Pullman railcar company and the significance for its place in revolutionizing the railroad industry and its contributions to the African-American labor movement. (AP)

On Labor Day, we’ll check in on the American labor force, with labor activist Van Jones, and more.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: August 29, 2014
Friday, Aug 29, 2014

On hypothetical questions, Beyoncé and the unending flow of social media.

More »
Comment
 
Drew Bledsoe Is Scoring Touchdowns (In The Vineyards)
Thursday, Aug 28, 2014

Football great — and vineyard owner — Drew Bledsoe talks wine, onions and the weird way they intersect sometimes in Walla Walla, Washington.

More »
Comment
 
Poutine Whoppers? Why Burger King Is Bailing Out For Canada
Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

Why is Burger King buying a Canadian coffee and doughnut chain? (We’ll give you a hint: tax rates).

More »
1 Comment